Their press does them no justice because, really, Band Aparte are so much better than being simply a blending of punk and goth, as if the duo was little more than a Joy Division tribute band. Memory On Trial, out in about 10 days or so via L.A.'s Manifesto Records, is a blast of all the best bits of post-punk's past with a glossy sheen. If you like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Raveonettes, you are gonna love this but to say that is to pigeonhole this band perhaps unfairly. Read on.
Sure fans of those acts are gonna like this album because, like the work of those bands, it's the product of fans of Joy Division and that generation. And, yes, "Creatures Of Culture" does beat with a Peter Hook-like sense of rhythm, but "Dream Wave" unfurls at an expert pace, equal parts Heaven Up Here-era Echo and Nick Cave croons. The beautiful "Cherry Chapstick" is nearly as good as the Yo La Tengo song with which it shares a title. Band Aparte have absorbed a whole wealth of influences and, here at least, have managed to harness them in the service of the production of something nearly original in scope. If the near-shoegaze-y "Welcome In" brings up memories of Spiritualized, the insistent "Get The Gun" soars on the strength of a hook every bit as memorable as classic Primal Scream cuts. Elsewhere, "Harvey's Youth" nods in the direction of early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds even if its appeal is a good deal glossier.
Memory On Trial succeeds on its own terms even if there are undoubtedly moments here that will feel wildly familiar. That said, rather than take the easy route and simply pay homage to Ian Curtis while wearing a Cure t-shirt, Brian Mendoza and Tara Jane have taken some hints from those acts, and other worthy ones, and crafted something that stands on its own terms as a thing of depth and emotion. Warm in spots, harsh in others, Memory On Trial is a superb mix of shoegaze and faint goth touches. This is, in some ways, the "big music" that The Waterboys once sang about and yet it's still clearly introspective and evocative. Band Aparte are a band to pay attention to and one listen to this album ought to get you on their team.