Being a goth rock/deathrock/post-punk enthusiast I try to dig up all kinds of (new, old, obscure, popular etc) relevant artists and bands to satiate my aural appetite. Two years back, I came across a French gothic rock band “Saigon Blue Rain” and was somehow very impressed how their first album “What I Don’t See” successfully highlighted the “darkwave etherealism” in a very elegant way. Ophélie Lecomte’s velvety, soprano vocals were the cherry on top.
Released in September 2014, the record features spaced-out guitars and roomy soundscapes. The prominent bassline adds a generous post-punk vibe which in turn makes the songs more upbeat making them potential dance numbers to be played at a gothic nightclub (Hint: The main category) with its audience swaying to the rhythmic beats. The opening track “Queen Ephemeria” sounds moderately coldwave and essentially gothic with its futuristic sound effects. The record is centered around the surreal, dreamy and otherworldly atmosphere in its entirety. “So Cold” has a catchy beat that later diverges into the synth-pop and new wave variants of gothic rock. “Corps Astral” deals with the redundant nature of electronic music with minimal synths and slow-paced guitars. I especially liked the hypnotic arrangement of synths towards the end.
“Borealis” starts of with an enigmatic intro and evolves into a subtle darkwave track that is inspired by the basic gothic repertoire. “I Wanna Be You” and “What I Don’t See” also incorporate that consistent darkwave/coldwave technique we are all too familiar with by now. “Beyond The Stone” is my personal favorite. It has just the right proportions of synth-pop, new wave and gothic rock combined to maintain the overall dark ambient essence of the record interspersed with dance music aesthetics contributed by the inherent post-punk influence. “Lovelorn”, “Break the Disease” and the closer “L’Offrande” are seasoned with down-tempo, electronica and melancholic undertones with more delays and transient echoes calling this cryptic sonic delight a wrap.
Saigon Blue Rain will definitely ring a bell or two about bands like The Frozen Autumn, The Cure, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and Love Spirals Downwards all of which rejoice the deep-seated darkness and an elusive song-craft. The record explores the various ethos of gothic rock, darkwave and the related sub-genres. The vocals are a beautiful celebration of the feminine allure of a sirenic voice. The symbolic lyrics and the gothic rock dynamics deviating towards the electro-pop and darkwave/coldwave styles are infused with mellow and haunting lovesick melodies.
(Goes without saying) Do check them out if you haven’t!