Vague Lanes Craft a Spacious Sense of Emotional Suspension and Release on “We’ll Always Have Never”

Vague Lanes, photo courtesy the artists

The sharp, edgy and lingering guitar work at the beginning of “We’ll Always Have Never” by Vague Lanes is anchored by a subtle but moody bass line and propelled by the accents of percussion. It’s a dynamic that gives the song great sense of space and brooding atmospheres. When the vocals come in they sound like someone suspended in that space and when all the music more or less tops you can almost feel the source of the voice fall off a cliff into the splashes of rhythm and tone and the flow of synth melody that carries you until the end. The song somehow brings together the intimacy of a lo-fi recording with the detail of a full studio recording and its’ particular flavor of post-punk has more in common with early Skinny Puppy and Fields of the Nephilim at once than modern darkwave in its expert use of electronics and live instrumentation in crafting an emotive aural experience. Listen to “We’ll Always Have Never” on Bandcamp and follow the Swiss band at the links provided. The new album Foundation and Divergence released on December 24, 2022 on digital, CD and vinyl formats available through the Bandcamp link.

Vague Lanes on Instagram

Queen City Sounds Podcast S2E33: Blacklist

Blacklist, photo by Scott Irvine

Blacklist was a flagship band of Pieter Schoolwerth’s Wierd Records label, the imprint that perhaps best known for 2000s and early 2010s post-punk, shoegaze, industrial and noise. The group in its initial run from 2005-2011 released one full-length album Midnight Of The Century (2009) but even then was establishing itself as distinctly different from other bands lumped into the then emerging modern coldwave and post-punk scene that would lead to the current version of that movement. Blacklist incorporated elements of metal and clear, melodic vocals with crisp production. It’s astutely observed, politically aware lyrics one might even compare, given the music especially, to late 80s Queensryche or Vision Thing-period Sisters of Mercy. At that time a new uptick of fascism beyond the prevailing authoritarian swing of world politics was making itself known, blossoming toward the middle of the 2010s onward. After an extended hiatus Blacklist returned with Afterworld (Profound Lore Records, October 28, 2022). The new record builds upon while more or less reinventing its earlier sound somehow evoking shades of Comsat Angels, Fields of the Nephilim and the aforementioned with emotionally charged commentary on the world in this moment and the larger challenges human society faces with the environment, persistent social ills and political turmoil and inequality (all of which are deeply intermingled) but with a personal touch. The music doesn’t shy away from artful melodrama and in not adhering to trendy post-punk or metal aesthetics. The production on the album is multi-resonant and feels like a time-bridging sound of 80s rock and its emotionally earnest quality with a more contemporary ear for nuanced depth of mood. It sounds unmoored from and unbeholden to a particular cultural timeframe or context and a more enriching listen because of it.

Listen to our interview with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Strachan of Blacklist on Bandcamp and follow the group’s exploits at the links below.

Blacklist on Facebook

Blacklist on Instagram

Blacklist LinkTree