London’s Birthmarks offer a breath of fresh air with their debut album, ‘…And Then The Rain Stopped’, right at a time when the world desperately needs it.
The record details the deeply personal breakdown of vocalist Daniel Cross‘ relationship, yet does so without alienating us. There’s plenty to relate to over the 10-track long effort, and equally as much to escape within through the combination of raw, honest lyrics and transcendental instrumentation.
A strong statement is made straight off the bat with opener ‘How Do You Rule Me’, with a fusion of rock and electronica that’ll become familiar as the album progresses. Already, Birthmarks are setting themselves apart from the crowd with a sound that’s simultaneously experimental and nostalgic.
The simplistic yet by no means understated instrumentation gives the tracks plenty of room to breathe, as with the aptly named ‘Breathe’, whose choir-like vocal arrangement creates a chilling ambiance that’s carried through the proceeding songs. The hauntingly off-key ‘Wax’ shows that they’re daring enough to continuously experiment, unlike other artists whose debuts tend to play it safe, and it certainly pays off.
The album peaks with ‘You Are One’, a high-energy, almost extra-terrestrial track that stands as a satisfyingly climatic centre piece, encapsulating the essence of everything that has been and that is still to come.
Of course, there’s still room for improvement. The album wavers a little with the single ‘Charcoal’, which dangerously runs the risk of tedium with its heavy repetition. It re-finds itself with the following ‘Night After Night’, but lyrically the album on the whole feels slightly underdeveloped. This isn’t a huge issue since the subject matter is so personal, and hopefully serves its purpose in enabling some cathartic self-expression, but it would be great to see Birthmarks bring in more of that elemental experimentation to a lyrical level in future releases.
Birthmarks are unapologetic when it comes to how they express themselves. The music shows that they’re in it for the love of the art and that they aren’t afraid to push the boundaries. It’s this attitude and a progressive ear that will propel Birthmarks far into the future, and before long they’ll hopefully have the perfect back catalogue of soundtracks to accompany them.
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