November 18, 2013

Cindytalk - Wappinschaw (1994)

On Camouflage Heart, Cindytalk's 1984 debut, Gordon Sharp created a hopelessly dark, yet starkly beautiful, proto-industrial descent into psychic despair that made many of the goth albums of the time sound like little more than cartoonish attempts to paint facile forms of despair in shades of cheap black paint. Central to the effect of this truly singular album is Sharp's harrowing vocal performance, ranging from the despondent to the cathartic, sometimes within the same song. A decade later, Cindytalk released its second masterpiece, Wappinschaw, which seems, on the surface, to emanate from emotional regions far calmer than that of its heady predecessor, but on repeated listens reveals itself as being constructed from the same emotionally wrenching cloth. Wappinschaw was to be the last album Cindytalk would release for 15 years, and as such, it can be seen as both a culmination and integration of the various elements comprising Sharp's first three albums. Wappinschaw starts with a song as surprising as it is stunning: Sharp's beautifully sung a capella cover of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face." Elegant, raw, austere, and sounding like a sodden angel, Sharp masterfully sets the tone for the album's dynamic exploration of the extremities of emotion, a tone which moves into more familiar Cindytalk territory on the second track, "A Song of Changes." Mournfully melodic while eschewing anything resembling traditional song structure, Sharp creates a strange dirge-like atmosphere for another of his beautifully-wrecked vocal performances. Perhaps the biggest highlight is "Return to Pain," which features Sharp's heavily reverbed voice backed by some wonderfully moody experimental guitar noodling. Wappinschaw is easily one of the most under-appreciated albums of the 1990s, and though it is not a comforting listening experience, it is an exquisitely dark corner offering its own kind of recompense.

Wappinschaw (1994)
 1. The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
 3. Empty Hand
 5. Wheesht
 6. Snowkiss
 7. Secrets and Falling
 8. Disappear
 9. Traumlose Nachte
10. And Now in Sunshine
12. Hush / Muster

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  2. Thanks for another Cindytalk masterpiece. This blog is going to be better than the previous. I'm sure of that.

  3. dark entries =)
    nice to see you again