The Anxiety of Love are a Leeds-based Post-Punk band with membership stretching back to bands such as The Joan of Arc Family, Ave Maria, Solanas Solanas, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Ghost Dance, Certain General, Treehouse and White Car Pet. The cassette release of One is limited to 100 copies on the German Aufnahme + Wiedergabe label. The Anxiety of Love’s influences come from Post-Punk and the outer edges of the Goth movement, but they bear none of the stylistic constraints of sound or image that are so easy to fall into – this comes somewhere from the Goth world, but it isn’t Goth.
Rumbling rolling bass lines dominate “For You” alongside primal drum machine patterns. “For You” has such mercilessly bleak vocals that it’s brilliant; the guitars scrape, they feed back and make noise, but no tunes. The lead bass is similar in formula (not sound) to what bands like The Fall and ESG did, but the sense of despair shoves it elsewhere. The bass deepens, the drum machine starts to clap and the track grows into a strange euphoric depression. People say you shouldn’t revel in your own misery, but this illustrates how beautiful it can be to do so.
The bass continues to roll through to “Raped by Light”; the drum machine has now come to life as bleak lyrics shift along. The guitar is raw and noisy, it gets noisier the more hysterical the vocals become. The bass remains steady as the vocals and guitar begin to react and spark off each other. Guitar and vocal snap this formula by opposing each other; the vocals become a murmur while the guitar has a fit of noise.
“This is No Release” doesn’t rush to find its groove, the bass noodles, the vocals mumble and the guitar checks if it is in tune or even still working. The drum machine takes charge and asserts a beat that pulls everything together. The bass follows with more swing than before as it dances around the beat. The vocals are a continuous rant with a chorus of “‘this is no release, this is no release”. As the rant dies, the guitars jam away and do as the drum machine dictates.
Things die down as “Children of Xanadu” falls into place, the vocals mourn in ecstasy until a lyric is eventually formed. Wider atmospherics of sound reminiscent of Coil are formed around a shifting drum pattern. The vocals seem to drift in the middle of the music rather than at the forefront. Drifting bass and guitar feedback form an impenetrable bubble of sound.
One is bleak and brilliant; I don’t think I have heard something that is so simultaneously euphoric and despairing. Musically it is excellent, with strong song writing that balances precariously on a sharp edge. Sometimes the songs are so experimental, in no rush to go anywhere, that it takes the sparks of musical interplay or the re-programming of the drum machine to pull things together just in the nick of time.
As for the future, there are other tapes due out and a split 7” with Soft Kill in the works. High standards have been set, high standards will have to be maintained.
A1) For you
A2) Raped by Light
B1) This is No Release
B2) Children of Xanadu