Los Angeles's War Tapes evokes the most insidiously catchy synth-pop bands of the '80s mixed with the darkness of that era's death rock. Imagine Sisters of Mercy with a dynamic rhythm section and without the humorless demeanor. The songwriting, however, isn't exactly on a retro-nostalgia kick, despite clearly being inspired by post-punk and gothic rock, à la the March Violets or Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. Rather than being morosely navel-gazing, War Tapes performs its songs with a conviction and verve that belies the melancholy moods that haunt the edges of its sound. In that way, the group could be compared to the Prids from Portland, Oregon, who also take despair and desperation and transform it into inspiration. Essentially an artistically ambitious pop band, this foursome is writing the angsty teenage anthems of tomorrow.
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