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tropic of cancer - The Sorrow Of Two Blooms
Blackest Ever Black made an indelible mark on 2010 with a couplet of stunning releases from Raime. This year they open their leathery wings to shelter Tropic Of Cancer aka Camella Lobo and Juan Mendez (Silent Servant) for a midnight mission away from their spiritual home, Regis' Downwards sect. No doubt, this is their strongest material to date: three passionately gothic odes to the romance of misery. There are clear, strong references to the gothic digital minimalism of Martin Hannet's work on Joy Division, and maybe more apt allusions to the skinny Post Punk of Savage Republic, and Faith/Pornography/Seventeen Seconds era The Cure, but unlike many contemporary guardians of this sound, TOC's misanthropy is articulated with exquisite production values closer to those of Grouper or Broadcast, making their introversion that much more tangible and heart-breakingly glorious. Of these three songs, 'Dive (Wheel Of The Law)' is the most affecting; Lobo's lamenting vocals sigh for your sins while a malnourished drum machine paces echoic alley space like a Kafka character tortuously trapped in his misanthropy, plangent guitars precipitate a cold grey drizzle. This is severely dank, uncompromising material, and therein lies its beauty. If you're on that wavelength, this will probably be one of the most precious 12"s you'll encounter this year.