Scene and Heard – CCCXXVI : This Burning  –  Cream VIII (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

4a1a4cc531dd4b9ca4d3b5193024c89fNo matter what anyone tells you about current musical fashions, what the zeitgeist might happen to be blowing in from cooler taste making circles, what the papers say is the next big thing or any of that sort of rhetoric, one thing never changes. The underground, the outside, the left field, the other…call it what you will, is always a far more interesting place.

It eschews common consent, public opinion and the approval of the masses and just makes music for itself. How great is that? And proof of that can be found in Cream VIII’s (geddit?) arty, electro-punk disco dirge, This Burning. It recalls some of the greats of the outside curve, it updates Bauhaus, sits next to Nick Cave on the piano stool, squeezes the high drama and cliche out of The Sisters of Mercy and wanders the same sonic underworld as the likes of Depeche Mode, once they realised that pop was not where their future lay  and sold their souls and synths to a darker power.

Cream VIII, (formally Cream 8 but Roman numerals are more in keeping with the mystique of the band) released a string of  CD’s throughout the 90’s and early part of this century and seem to have kept active enough since to keep in the public eye, but a brand new video for the track This Burning is big news indeed.

And as a music and video combination the two fit together perfectly. A striking gothic goddess, sashaying and slinkily grooving her way through decaying urban wastelands and buildings in the process of being subsumed by nature put to industrial beats and clinical synth sounds. It’s a great combination, a vision of mystery and otherworldliness, dystopia and seduction juxtaposed with a sound that feels half-human, half-machine, desolate and dangerous.

Building on the futuristic sounds of those 80’s synth pioneers, This Burning is a slick blend of the cold, clinical, noir-ish musical drama of those originators and a modern darkwave, slow dance vibe. It grafts an electro-gothic undercurrent on to an almost industrial pop sensibility (is that even a thing? I guess it is now!) and the result is the perfect soundtrack to be emanating from our car stereo as we drive into that final sunrise of a dystopian future. The future has never sounded so wonderfully bleak or so horrifically beautiful.

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