Grooving In Green - Stranglehold

Grooving In Green

A relatively new goth rock band which formed out of the long-cold ashes of a far older one, Grooving In Green have the distinct challenge of continuing within the same tradition as Children On Stun, the second wave legends from whence they sprang, while still offering listeners enough of a different feel from that project to make that difference matter. While still unquestionably constituted of the same classic goth guitar DNA of their previous incarnation, they’ve made enough subtle modernizations to their sound to make their sophomore LP feel like a solid step forward, rather than a retreat into nostalgic conservatism.

Moreso than original CoS guitarists Pete Finnemore and Simon Manning, the onus to strike this delicate balance is placed on vocalist General Megatron Bison, formerly of third wave goth marvels Solemn Novena (I shudder to think of the secret Shadaloo research project into the negaverse of Psycho Power which allowed the dread general to add “Megatron” to his title). As on first full-length Post Traumatic Stress, he often invokes a high keen which is eerily similar to Children on Stun’s Neil Ash (like on the excellently chilling “Die Alone”), but he’s working in a lot more guttural growling that changes things up, and clicks back and forth between the two styles well, as on the title track.

That’s not the only way that the classic goth rock formula has been bootstrapped to more modern tics. I’ve read a couple of comparisons to Placebo, and while I’ve never exactly been an ardent tracker of Mr. Molko’s career, I can at least see where that line of argument’s coming from: there’s definitely a moody, embittered type of glam which fits well with but still feels distinct from Grooving In Green’s more classically goth moments. Check the more modern, textured guitar on “Beneath The Surface” for an example.

Grooving In Green remain great at using goth’s acceptance of naked emotion to make the political personal, with “Fat Cats” closely following after Post Traumatic Stress‘ title track. It’s been interesting to see how bands across genres, old and young, have responded to the Great Recession in the past few years. It’s perhaps no surprise that British bands were able to react more swiftly than those across the pond, as the social realities of class are so much more openly acknowledged in the UK, instead of being swaddled in the American Dream of upward mobility, a lie whose tattered shroud is perhaps finally falling aside. If that’s not proper fodder for goth rock, I don’t know what it.

Buy it on Bandcamp or iTunes.