The Twilight Garden
As their name suggests, The Twilight Garden’s particular brand of darkwave owes a great amount to the works of The Cure. That’s a double-edged sword that the project helmed by Todd Loomis has generally wielded with a certain amount of skill; he knows how to invoke that most legendary and influential of bands in ways that read as homage more often than knock-off. New record Revelation struggles with that balance in spots but is by and large exactly what The Twilight Garden have done on their two previous LPs.
As with their last effort, 2012’s Hope the best and most distinct aspect of what The Twilight Garden’s music is the synthwork. Opener “Real Life” is exemplary classic electronic darkwave with a simple yet catchy groove and vocoders providing extensive texture. The busy synth bassline to “Focus is Fate” has a pleasingly psychedelic feel, with bits of synth filigree and rich pads flowing over one another. “Start the Dream” uses plush and flowing electronics to create a real sense of chilled-out ethereality that speaks to Loomis’ history with Projekt records. The Cure’s presence is felt in these songs’ sounds but subtly, and allows them to breathe on their own.
On the other hand there are some moments that strain to escape the shadow of that influence. “Sundrops” is a pretty direct take-off of “Plainsong”‘s massive arrangement, so much so that the song’s own charms are buried beneath the weight of its obvious touchpoint. Sometimes the vocals stray a touch too close to imitation for comfort, as on the dirgey “Black and Blue” where Loomis sounds close to Robert Smith in his “Lullaby” mode down to the phrasing. You could level similar complaints at his high-pitched and desperate delivery “Revelation”, although that song’s fast-moving bassline and layers of synth help dull the comparison somewhat.
Whether or not those sorts of faithful invocations will bother you is largely a personal matter. From the perspective of Loomis’ previous work Revelation is more in your face about what inspired it, and in more ways than one; the album explicitly references Jesus and Loomis’ own faith on more than one occasion. That’ll be fine with some and may give others pause but ultimately the record’s inspirations musical and lyrical are inextricable from the experience. The record is as The Twilight Garden intended it.