POPULATION: Beyond the Pale: LP

I really dug their first EP on HoZac a good while back, which was some prime Joy Division worship in its own right. Haven’t heard anything from ‘em since, so just how marked the leap forward here is a bit of a surprise. Echoes of that early influence are still very much apparent, but they’ve upped the gloom exponentially and added some other interesting bits—a little bit of very early Sisters Of Mercy here, and more than a little early Death In June there, all of it steeped in a nice sheen of 4AD ambience—to round the sound out quite nicely. While not as sonically aggressive as some of the retro-nouveau death rock outfits making the rounds in recent years, they more than make up for it in the way the sheer oppressiveness of the overall mood is counterbalanced by loping bass lines, alternating dancey and quasi-tribal drumming, and ethereal synth lines. The results are superb, handily standing toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters of the much ballyhooed first post-punk/goth go-’round. 

 –jimmy (Mass Media, massmediarecords.com)