[sic] Magazine

Blacklist – Midnight Of The Century

If you think of Brooklyn you don’t think of Blacklist . If you’re thinking big, maybe the past-their-peak sounds of TV On The Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs spring to mind. If you’re thinking current, experimental trend setters then maybe The Dirty Projectors or Grizzly Bear are on the tip of your tongue. If you’re savvy, maybe the ice-cold electro of Telepathe , or the echo-y fuzz of Vivian Girls . Whichever, and there are plenty more besides, you don’t think of Blacklist.

Blacklist don’t sample worldbeat, don’t play with time signatures and rarely command column inches. Blacklist are not modern-day Brooklyn at all because what they are is unapologetically Goth-rock. Though, there is more to them than meets the eye. Behind their immaculately dark posturing hides strong melodies, mainstream hooks and latter-day post-punk grooves, “Odessa”, for example, is rife with radio-friendly melody and iconic, reverbed riffs.

Cue a slew of very apparent, definite-article-led influences: The Cult , The Sisters Of Mercy , The Mission , and to a lesser extent The Cure and Killing Joke , and even mid-80s U2 . Vocalist Josh Strawn emotes against this luminary backdrop, gliding smoothly and seductively through the catalogue. However, in such company he seems to struggle in capturing the attention like Wayne Hussey or Andrew Eldritch managed.

This said, to a tune, Midnight Of The Century is capable of commercial crossover. Its not poppy in an undeserving White Lies fashion, but hugely irrepressible in a Hot Fuss, dancefloor-smash kind of way. Its sometimes closer to fellow NYCers The Bravery than their apparent peers, but luckily chose to leave the synths at home. “Julie Speaks” seems custom made for retrospective inclusion on The Crow soundtrack. The halcyon days of U2’s “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” are recalled on the opening strains of “Flight Of The Demoiselles” before it unfolds into a stadium-sized, Goth-lite rocker. The echoing snares across this track and Midnight Of The Century as a whole lend the sound its post-punk edge and in doing so an almost New Order -like quality in places (particularly on “When Worlds Collide”), but to align Blacklist with their earlier incarnation would be a leap too far.

The confidence to present such a well-polished, Goth-lite rock mix provides Blacklist with credibility, and with the right platform they could easily shift reasonable units. Ultimately however, Blacklist’s biggest problem is that they are not black enough. Blacklist are too clean and shiny when large scale Goth-rock really demands pained yelps, and moreover corrosive theatrics to make Eldritch proud.