What’s most surprising about the debut full-length from a band called Death Of Lovers (and featuring 3 members from renown shoegaze group Nothing) is how vibrant and bright this gem is. The Acrobat is certainly an efficient venture, featuring only eight impressive tunes, and it begins somewhat expectedly. “Orphans of the Smog” is a classic post-punk tune, with that immutable bass-line and drumming pattern and Domenic Palermo’s effervescent vocals. And while post-punk is undoubtedly the main dish here, Death Of Lovers have built a rather enjoyable musical meal, with heaping servings of new wave, synthpop, and even a fair bit of synthwave; “Here Lies” could very easily have fit in with the playful yet eerie mood of Stranger Things. Sure, The Acrobat deals in some typical dark topics, but their sound is more The Cure covering New Order for the dance floor crowd than anything else. Songs are imbued with hip-shaking beats and neon-soaked harmonic hooks.
While most side projects are labors of love, Death Of Lovers’ music truly radiates the passion and energy from the members’ gleeful homages to their favorite artists of the 80s. We are nearly at a mutual breaking point from that decade’s incessant nostalgia, but what sets The Acrobat apart is splitting the middle between those acts who dig deep into the darkness of the human soul and those who worship at the altar of the keytar; Death Of Lovers are clearly tortured creatures, but the songs on this exuberant record get at the spirit of the classics: dancing and screaming along while acknowledging that doing so won’t necessarily make your problems go away. There’s morose catharsis and an unyielding buoyancy in harmony. The Acrobat is not particularly unique in sound or style, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable.