The singer of The Anxiety of Love is an interesting character, a kind of social media anti-celebrity, an unappreciated source of knowledge on Goth and Post-punk music. I have been turned on to so many great lost bands through knowing him. I have questioned him before “M., why don’t you research and write a book on the music you like instead of constantly putting out these youtube videos?”. I was answered with some murky negative reply, to which I argued “This would completely change what people know about the history of the scene.” Further moans and groans were then sent to my inbox.
It wasn’t until long after I reviewed the first Anxiety of Love cassette, One, for Heathen Harvest that I realized what he’d done. M. had assembled a band with other veterans of the Leeds live scene, and together they’d compressed all of the best things that they knew about their own — and the wider — Goth/Post-punk history and put the best of what they knew into a willfully obscure band; The Anxiety of Love. The One cassette delivered four tracks that were excessively negative and so wrapped up in their own despair to see the point of following the decades-long established formulae of many of their contemporaries. They’d cornered themselves into a point where they had no choice but to be good or just not bother at all.
“Deaf and Dumb” alludes to the first EP as the bass balances precariously on a determined drum machine; the guitar feeds back and squeals in constant argument with the vocals. The vocals despair in their own shit-pit of misery and are whipped in and out of this whenever the drum machine decides to shoot off into different time signatures. The guitar and vocals fight it out relentlessly and the bass and drum machine gradually lock together in oblivion until the songs’ death.
Anxiety of Love tracks have a trademark of balancing on an edge and with a sound that is combative within itself; they never explode — they implode. “Green Light Go” seems to have fallen apart way before it started. This is an experimental montage of drum machine, cheap keyboards and guitar. It partly alludes to the messed up areas of Death in June‘s crazy Wall of Sacrifice era. This works as an effective and angry passage of experimentation that suits the band’s sound.
Both tracks continually fall apart and then regain cohesion repeatedly in different ways, with “Deaf and Dumb” being just an excellent song and “Green Light Go” being an excellent experimental work. The band could have easily released five more One‘s, providing the tracks were good, but instead they have chosen to use a cassette single to see how far The Anxiety of Love can break down their own methods and rebuild them; they are stretching the boundaries of the project. I know I have made some big statements about this band, but that’s because I truly like what they do and, so far, they really have delivered. With each release I am also continually shitting myself over the presumption that they won’t be as good as this anymore come the next release, but thankfully this is amazing. I can’t wait to see them with 6<omm in November.
A1) Deaf and Dumb
B1) Green Light Go