True Body’s music comes from a certain niche where Joy Division comparisons run rampant and black-and-white aesthetics rule. The band’s debut full-length, Heavenly Rhythms For The Uninitiated, will likely establish their stature in that scene.
Out April 3 via Funeral Party Records, Heavenly Rhythms offers 10 tracks rich with unruly baritone vocals (provided by Isabella Moreno-Riaño), gothic pop, and the shadow of Interpol.
The album’s cover photo by Nicole Horton recalls classic, Dutch, still-life painting (you know, the ones with fruit and flowers dramatically sprawled across tables) in more ominous fashion. Like that artwork, the music is plenty familiar, surely aware of its dedication to a form, somewhat indebted to popular traditions, but fully invested in a countercultural aesthetic which, again, comes in the ominous form of gothic rock and all its relatives.
“Holy Child” shows True Body in peak form, playing up their similarities while managing to sound inspired enough to achieve something original.
Despite perhaps sounding the closest to a post-Joy Division goth attempt, “Youth Hotel” delivers another standout with viscous electronics and Moreno-Riaño sinking into a cool mutter. True Body generally manage to excel by settling into familiar realms like that one.
Like on “Ariel,” which may well soundtrack an indie outsider-coming-of-age story (likely a driving scene, probably at night) or “First Thing,” where glistening synths and reverberant guitar offer a bit of classic, goth balladeering, or at least as ‘classic’ as a goth ballad can be.
The challenge, then, is making something memorable beyond this niche. It’s not clear that True Body have quite achieved that, as songs start to blur together by the album’s end. Not that the songs struggle, but as a whole, Heavenly Rhythms mostly fits as a mood music listen, not as much the type of album where each song demands its own attention.
There are a few standout moments, but that’s mostly in the way that catchy songs with emphasized choruses typically tend to embed themselves in memory. Alongside “Holy Child,” “Television” makes another venture toward dance-worthy, gloom pop with much success.
Fans of the darkwave genre will find much to appreciate here. Sparkling synths, reverb everywhere, and dark, rumbling drums. Moreno-Riaño’s vocals make one of the strongest impressions and will likely be a litmus test for listeners: either you like the deep growl (think Ian Curtis, King Krule’s Archy Marshall) or you’re turned off by its dark uncertainty. For those in favor of darkly lit pop, Heavenly Rhythms makes for a solid listen.