Some people walk the walk, and some people talk the talk. Thus Love do both. For this trio of trans artists hailing from the town of Brattleboro, Vermont, ‘DIY’ isn’t an ethos, it’s a way of life for this band. From their formation in 2019, they’ve acted pretty much like a self-contained arts commune, not only making music together, but also co-habiting, designing their own merch and even building their own studio and rehearsal space from scratch.
You may be wondering why it’s only now in 2022 that the band have gotten around to releasing their debut album. Well, there was that small pandemic a couple of years ago, and like everyone else, it sucked the wind from Thus Love’s sails just a little bit. Still, even though the group were battling with lock downs and financial uncertainty, they never stopped working and Memorial is the fruits of their labour.
Focusing strictly on the music, the band’s first full length is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it doesn’t really move the dials on any of the established post-punk tropes. The basslines thumb, the guitars sound wirey and the synths sound cold. Similarly, guitarist and singer Echo Mars’ vocals feel warmly familiar, recalling the crooner singers of the mid-’80s and landing somewhere between Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr.
However, the magic lies behind the facade, and as a collection of songs, this album doesn’t really have any duds. It’s a special talent that can jam erudite wordplay into breezy-sounding pop songs without making them sound pretentious, and Thus Love manage it with ease. Every song is a mini masterpiece of despair, acceptance and revival; from opener ‘Repetitioner’, with its wispy guitar line and uplifting message of hope, to ‘Inamorato’, an almost desperate-sounding goth-punk meditation on the pain of unrequited love.
All in all, Memorial is a solid statement of intent. If the first hurdle of any band is to prove that you have the stuff, then this debut achieves this with flying colours. The question now is what Thus Love do next.
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