Everything old is new again: The parade of ‘80s-aping acts marches onward with the cleverly monikered I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness’s ominous debut LP Fear Is on Our Side. All minor-key, darkly rendered pop-rock, this sextet from Austin, Texas treads where an increasing number of so many others have trodden before. Your tolerance for these obsidian slabs of melancholic brooding depends largely upon your fondness for either Joy Division or Talk Talk. “According To Plan” throbs along, its insistent bassline augmented by soaring synths set against a faintly hopeful chorus, while “Lights” feels like an Interpol outtake, minus the slavish Ian Curtis vocal affectations of Interpol’s Paul Banks, and “The Owl” could possibly be the soundtrack to your next half-remembered nightmare (despite its oh-so-close proximity to New Order’s “Elegia”). It’s not that I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness—comprised of Christian Goyer, Jason McNeely, Edward Robert, Tim White, Ernest Salaz, and Daniel Del Favero—are a lesser band for having relied upon these influences, but merely that all of these moody twentysomethings are beginning to become difficult to distinguish from one another. Fear Is on Our Side is slickly produced (by Ministry’s Paul Barker) and resplendent in its studied somber nature, which makes mining the by-now exhausted vein of viscerally dark ‘80s rock an all the more unfortunate choice—fear may be on their side, but I’m afraid that rehashing the likes of Joy Division has already become more than tiresome.
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