Underpass - Assimilation EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Underpass - Assimilation EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7.5 Release Date:2014-08-26

Underpass is a dark, brooding hunk of a quartet from the Pacific Northwest, based in Washington’s capitol city of Olympia. Led by Native American Alexander Miranda, the band blend political polemics with vituperative attacks on his hometown government’s rape of the neighbourhoods he grew up in (Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver). All of this is swathed in somber sounds of foreboding menace and dirgy crawls through the gutter in the darkest mood-music we’ve heard since Joy Division, or The Cure’s 'suicide trilogy: Faith, Seventeen Seconds, and Pornography. It should almost come with a 'hide the razorblades' warning sticker.

Miranda has certainly listened to his fair share of Robert Smith’s crystalline, wah-wah guitar-lines, as tracks like ‘Tomorrow’s Voices’ serpentine their way around your brain. Close your eyes and you’re transported back to Smith’s early-80s heyday leading the premier gothic band of the moment. In a marketing ploy that adds another dimension to their already enigmatic sound, Miranda’s band-mates are only identified by their initials. 

Bassist NC grounds their attack in a throbbing, plodding beat that sucks you into their swirling vortex of pain and suffering (one of the tracks is even called ‘Pain of Trust’), while MW’s minimalist floor-tom/snare combo and DL’s haunting synths add to the creepy vibe. This is dark stuff, highly derivative of their inspirations, but when they’ve latched on to such an iconic sound – and do it so well – we’re not gonna complain.

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