With around 20 new releases a day landing with me, I tend to skip a lot of stuff simply because there’s other stuff. Last Day Sect hadn’t been on my radar, but I clocked the name Reeves Gabrels on the press release. I’ve long found his guitar playing fascinating, so figured it was worth a spin. And it was.
Last Day Sect (on this outing also featuring the talents of Morgan Fisher (Mott the Hoople / Queen), Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Gallon Drunk) and a whole bunch of others, advertise themselves as ‘an anti-supergroup of established musicians making “post-synthetic” (a hybrid of guitar and synth) music’.
Inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s short story ‘The Dreams in the Witch House’, ‘The Witch House’ packs a post-punk punch driven by an insistent, metronomic beat that borders on the technoindustrial. The guitars are choppy, sinewy, almost gothy, there’s some wild brass and a driving groove going on, and Paul Cudden’s vocals veer between drawling baritone monotone and borderline mania. Whatever my opinions of Lovecraft’s writing, it’s a cracking tune.
This release packs three songs in the style of the 80s 12”, and premier B-side, ‘The Devil’s Elixir’ brings a vintage cabaret style with the added twist of a stealthy, strolling bass and some gritty-no-wave noise nihilism, and the third cut, ‘Whether the Dream’ – which again returns to Lovecraftean inspirations – represents an altogether different aspect of the band: but a brief interlude, it’s sparse, moody and atmospheric, and blends synth and orchestral to create something quite magical.