Chandelier is an album which reminds us that the post-punk and gothic originators from which autumn, at least in part take their lead, were essentially pop bands, although ones not afraid to revel in a quirkiness and outsider stance. And whereas the likes of Souixsie and the Banshees, who are always going to get mentioned in autumn reviews not least for Julie Plante’s vocal similarities and The Mission’s dark Byrds-esque guitar work took things to darker places, autumn are more content to shimmer than brood, chime rather than moan.
Not that the two were ever very far apart anyway but Chandelier errs as much on the side of dream-pop as it does goth, happy to bathe in celestial light and bright ethereal haze rather than turn to the shadows. And it is this play off that creates the perfect sound. One about which the bat cavers and the creatures of the night will find a lot to like but also appealing to those mining a more 4AD and 80’s indie shaped furrow.
The Fall sums this dichotomy rather succinctly, dripping with melody and grandeur, accessibility and poetic poise but staying on the right side of the encroaching nightfall. It evokes dusk rather than the dark and that makes all the difference. Even songs with titles as in keeping with the image as Shadow Girl 2 and My Last Confession owe more to a dreamy pop canon, whilst driving on a strong sense of dance groove. This is music with mystery and majesty to spare but it is also perfect for the alternative club dance floor.
It was, and still is, easy to see the gothic scene as a monochrome set, a Poe faced bunch, the musical equivalent of a stack of Penny dreadfuls, cliched, derivative and pretentious. Chandelier and the band behind it are miles from that narrow view reality. Maybe the Banshees reference is even more apt than it first appears for autumn are also a band who have managed to out grow and evolve beyond the inner sanctum of what people would have you believe goth was really all about. Goth heading into the light of a new musical day? Oh the irony!