The Ascension - Last Fall
Owain Paciuszko 17/07/2009
Electronic-tinged rock with a distinctive 80s alternative sound from this Northwest three piece. The title track has a strong driving melody and dark synth line, with vocals sneered and anunciated in a fashion similar to Spear of Destiny frontman Kirk Brandon, though musically they're closer to acts like Gang of Four and Magazine.
Temperament sound so perfectly plucked from the 80s it's practically got shoulder pads and a poodle perm, yet unlike many of the current acts who reference the era with an eye on artifice and a lack of imagination, The Ascension are approaching the style of the time with it influencing their music rather than guiding it. As a result their songs sound like genuine products of the decade, and fortunately they're inspired by the era's better bands. Temperament itself is a particularly strong song with a great bass line and diverse instrumentation, drifting into darker post-punk territory come the track's finale.
The final track, Echoes in a Child's World, as its title suggests drifts into the more pompous and ludicrous aspects of the 'decade that style forgot', with a sense of epic self-importance and arch-fantasy lyrics. 'We are the forever children,' lead singer Doug intones over rising synths and clattering drums. Sadly though it's cut somewhat short of developing into the grand gloomy epic it seemingly vies to be, which is bizarrely both dissapointing and merciful.
The Ascension seem to carefully strut a tightrope between becoming a checklist of 80's post-punk requisites and being a band all of their own, fortunately the strength of - inparticular the first two - songs here keeps them on just the right side of '89.