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Tropic of Cancer

Andrei Cucu

Camella Lobo mostly works in surfaces. Each classically sharp synth, each monosyllabic drum beat work only in 2D, never going out of their way to improvise, variate or change much about their development, but that’s how they get you. Each flat, sharp element intersects with the other and shimmers very brightly among the cold, dusty space Tropic of Cancer (paradoxically) throw you into. There is nothing sunny and nothing warm about Lobo’s compositions, they chill, they cut, they drone and nothing more. While mostly dealing with themes of love, romance, passion and the like, the songs always show a very pessimistic approach, trying at the same time to detach themselves from any overtly strong feeling. 2013’s Restless Idylls is a perfect example of just how consciously apathetic they can get.

After a series of disparate singles and EPs such as 2012’s Permissions of Love or 2011’s The End of All Things, they finally came out with their debut album Restless Idylls on Blackest Ever Black. As opposed to the aforementioned releases, Restless Idylls tries even harder to get to the heart of depression, darkness, fog, dust and all that is obscured and in any way sad. The steady rock motor rhythms of songs like Chrome Vox from The End of all Things or the Joy Division riffs of Be Brave from the same EP are nowhere to be found, being replaced by even darker and more menacing chords. The songs are somehow cleaned up, all the rock grit and punch is turned into austerity and geometry. Court of Devotion is the closest you could ever come to deciphering lyrics to a ToC song, and still all you get are snippets of things like ‘run away’, ‘giving up’ and ‘you’re lost now’. Children of a Lesser God actually tries moving into a major key with its melancholy arpeggios and ends up being a sublime piece of dream pop hanging on the very edge of becoming a nightmare and the album closer Rites of the Wild has a very tribal feel to it incorporating some noisy, soundscape parts. The debut manages at once to be more diverse and more static than their previous releases, slightly moving away from the classical post-punk and goth elements, opting for a more detached, glacial kind of romanticism.

I woke up and the Storm was Over is the first glimpse of their upcoming album, released on Blackest Ever Black’s compilation I Can’t Give You The Life You Want and shows a more subdued kind of indifference, among the huge sweeping synth parts and very steady beats, Lobo seems to show some kind of flicker of passion.  The sophomore album Stop Suffering is out October 30th on Blackest Ever Black.

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Andrei CucuTropic of Cancer

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