Published June 5, 2013
Hot on the heels of Legend and Hjaltalín’s dark musical displays, Bloodgroup’s third album ‘Tracing Echoes’ shows the group in a more sombre, solemn mood. The posters for their album release gig had them looking like they’d just come from a funeral and the album’s cover design, with a mix of soft focus greys and blacks, is so murky that you can hardly read any of the lyrics.
This could easily emit a lingering stench of pretentiousness, but they have taken their music to the next level with ‘Tracing Echoes.’ Gone is the brash and bolshy style of their debut ‘Sticky Situation’ which they followed with a more poised and thoughtful second album, ‘Dry Land.’ In its place is a noirish, submerged Euro-dystopia of sleek lines, lingering neon and fractured urban spaces.
Musically, you pick up several different strands woven into body music—from the quasi-tribal rhythms of opening track “Threat” and the doomy soul of “Nothing Is Written In The Stars” to hints of John Carpenter in the intro of “Fall” and M83-style overloading climaxes in the closing piece “Mysteries Undone.”
But the main driver of the album is the bass synth sounds that heave around the lower ends of the songs like a pregnant mothership (I know several witch house aficionados who’d definitely appreciate the drag you experience in “The Water”). “A King’s Woe,” their best track, bleeds despondency all over the shop with Janus’s fragile vocals sitting atop heart breaking synth melodies.
I don’t know if I could dance to ‘Tracing Echoes,’ but it’s definitely an album whose smothering soundwash happily embraces you in a womb-like shroud of bass and gloom.