Released 14th January 2019
I was once told by someone who claimed to know a lot about music, that the best way to get people to listen to a new band is to rigorously compare them to a band those sorts of people already to listen to.
Obviously this isn’t a new concept; music publications have been using the ‘For Fans of...’ category for years when analysing newer artists in order to endear potential new listeners. Streaming services often use playlists for a similar purpose, with Apple Music’s ‘Influences’ and ‘Inspired By...’ playlists serving as prime examples of how create a picture in a listener’s mind of the way a certain sound or genre may have evolved, whilst also showing them other artists they might well appreciate.
As you can probably tell, this theory interests me a great deal. So, I vowed that when I was next presented with a song that I genuinely enjoyed listening to, by an artist that I had never heard of before, I would try this theory out and compare the new artist to one who is already established, using various different factors.
And this track is the perfect opportunity to do this; within the first thirty seconds of ‘Mortifier’, it seems likely that Dawn Street (a trio formed in Italy back in 2015) have been greatly influenced by the ever-present Depeche Mode. Of course, I may be wrong about this (I have been in the past you know) but as there are some nice comparisons to be made here (and because I think I am right) I will continue to board this train of thought anyway.
Our first stop is the subject of the song’s title; continuing our comparative journey, one can assume even from the word ‘Mortifier’, Dawn Street’s single is going to be in a similar vein to Depeche’s later, darker work as opposed to the chirpy strains of something like ‘New Life’ or ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’.
And this assumption would be correct.
The track starts off in a direct and punchy fashion, quite literally, with the words ‘sometimes I need the world to slap me in my face’ serving as an introduction to its themes- primarily those of obsession and mental anguish (and which funnily enough, often crop up in the Mode’s tracks).
As we pick up speed through the pre-chorus (framed by the delightful addition of Elisa Lucentini’s enchantingly light harmonies to Eugenio Deluca’s Dave Gahan-esque lead vocals), we thunder on through the chorus, which hits the listener like the ‘slap in the face’ of the initial verse lyrics, as if whatever it is that has been bubbling under since the track’s beginning has finally become clear.
The actual instrumentation of ‘Mortifier’ is relatively simple, although this means that there is sufficient room for, and a specific focus on, the melody, which is the real strength of this song; think the bittersweet lilts of Depeche tracks like ‘Everything Counts’, ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘Now, This Is Fun’.
Furthermore, even before I seriously considered the Depeche Mode comparison for this review, the video for this track immediately struck me as a relative of the video for ‘Personal Jesus’. It is intense, black and white, stark, contains nothing we probably haven’t seen before, but overall compliments the track well which is, after all, what a good music video should really do.
And so back to the theory I set about investigating at the beginning of this review. Does comparing Dawn Street to Depeche Mode really make people want to listen to them any more than a positive review would do otherwise?
I have come to the conclusion that perhaps it doesn’t. At the end of the day ‘Mortifier’ does not need to be compared to the music of a band who, nowadays, are a little past their sell-by-date, because Dawn Street are anything but. Their sound is fresh and edgy but in a way that is easy to get a hold on, and one would like to think their oncoming musical journey would resemble that of a train on its way to somewhere like Liverpool, or Manchester, or perhaps even London; all are quite a distance from the band’s home country, but they are significant and noteworthy destinations that hopefully would make the journey worthwhile.
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You can watch the video for ‘Mortifier’ via this link: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCoRZwTP6mv5Axl1_5rJkEGg
For more information about Dawn Street please visit: https://m.facebook.com/dawnstreetband/