Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
Rock music sees a hefty amount of reformations. We all know that for better or worse, most of the classic early college rock groups have banded together again to carry the torch in the new millennium. The more intriguing of these instances are the regroupings under a different name. To name a few: the core of Drive Like Jehu formed Hot Snakes, the core of Sunny Day Real Estate formed The Fire Theft, the core of Cap’n Jazz formed Owls, and so on and so forth. Gauntlet Hair, the guitar pedal and drum pad laden cult act from Andy Rauworth and Craig Nice, added themselves to that list of transitional oddities one year ago with the self-released demos under new project name cindygod. EP2, their first for Fire Talk Records, further realizes their potential for icky goth pop, confidently delighting in the dark hallways they began exploring with this updated moniker.
The path of least resistance to sounding like a goth band is to let your bass lines brood through a flanger and hang up your hat. Let’s call it the Garlands Principle. Rauworth, normally such a bombastic guitarist in past efforts, makes a distinct effort to keep things simple and atmospheric. The chorus effects and lush swaths are still present, but the bass—fooling the ear as either Simon Gallup or Simon Raymonde, depending on the track—rings louder than ever before. “Nothing Right” and “With a Bag” feature a low end tone so unmistakably of its genre, each could slink their way onto the soundtrack for Tony Scott’s The Hunger and no one would bat an eyelash as Catherine Deneuve lures in another kill. “All day long I think of you, until you tell me not to” sings Rauworth in the former, seething obsession and a smirking gluttony for rejection in equal measures.
Nice is typically characterized by not just his extensive use of electronic drum pads but his transparency in having a blast on the kit. His performances pound alight with exuberance in all live footage and recorded material alike. EP2 sees him at his most reined in, signature freak outs undetected, but all with purpose. This new batch of five songs registers with leagues more focus than demos, which is still a very satisfying grab bag, mostly due to the creative return of the Denver colleagues. The glue starts to give way around fancies like the 5/4 militaristic club stomp of “Rabbit” and the speedrunning-inspired “DD11”, while still yielding enjoyable experiments. Much like Nice’s drumming patterns this time around, EP2 is deliberate and honed, but they do not sacrifice the hooks for cohesion’s sake. Plus, “On Its Side” allows Nice a modest blaze of glory in closing out the record with, coincidentally, its best song at a higher bpm than the preceding.
At the quality and rate of cindygod’s output thus far, one hopes that their flame will continue to burn long and brightly. Nearly every song pivots in its final minute, clutching onto a satisfying outro, and these eerie forays are but few examples of their boundless ideas. Rauworth and Nice retain elements from their instantly attention-commanding beginnings and blend them seamlessly into a new work mode; it’s now that we see those perpetually echoed vocals were perfectly suited for darkwave and dream pop all along. EP2 is the sound of a haunted house whose tenants are new wave vampires whose coffins are decorated in fluorescent paint. That is to say, it’s the sound of cindygod’s self-assuredness.
You may purchase the record here.
More in recordings