Night Host – Zofia (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Haunting and beguiling music isn’t just the domain of the gothic set. After all, most of the wailings and wallowing that was emitted from that corner of the music spectrum over the years has been largely hammed up and over-theatrical, music made by people who have watched one to many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fine if you are an impressionable teen, not so great if you are an adult looking for something truly atmospheric.

Yet Night Host is gothic, but in a more emotive sense rather than a musical one. It takes all of the elements such bands where always grappling with – a sense of menace, anticipation and otherworldliness, a cool detachment and a rising feeling of dread – and boils them down to their very essence. No brash guitar runs or lyric lines taken from 19th century gothic literature, just an eerie, almost-emptiness, still yet unquiet with just enough structure to keep things moving along and a disembodied voice hanging over the beat.

And it is enough. In fact it is more than enough. The half-heard lyrics float just out of earshot much of the time, the beat is so minimal it becomes primal and the strange ephemeral synth lines seem to ooze or perhaps grow out of a hole in the centre of the song.

Zofia proves that you can do a lot more with space than you can with impact, that poise is more effective than punch, that, as the cliche tells us, less is indeed more. Add to that a video which seems to speak of haunted TV’s, ghosts in the machines…literally and late night terror and you have the most effectively creepy/heart-achingly beautiful song I have heard in a long time.

I think I will sleep with the light on tonight.

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