Album Review: Unto Others – Strength
As addictively bittersweet as blood on the lips, and tragically cool as a days-gone corpse, the second album from Unto Others reaffirms their reputation as the finest band in goth-rock today.
Having been stripped of original moniker Idle Hands following a flurry of trademark issues wrapped in red tape last September, fans hooked by 2019’s outstanding Mana could be forgiven for worrying whether the Portland, OR collective might take the enforced rebranding as an opportunity to change up their sound. Thankfully, they’ve only doubled-down on their darkly romantic formula, stitching in sharper hooks, more pulsating beats and even deeper shades of black.
Emerging from an electrified pool, of feedback, evocatively-titled opener Heroin roars into life, with the deathly metallic urgency of an outfit like Tribulation, but, for the most part, Unto Others prefer to showcase their Strength through sex and swagger rather than sheer savagery. Downtown feels like a pick-up anthem designed for some all-night dive bar, to be played in the darkness just before dawn. When Will Gods Work Be Done, meanwhile is a classic vampiric banger with a touch of crunch, which could sit alongside the best work from legends as esteemed as Bauhaus and She Wants Revenge.
Perhaps most striking is their ability to draw from throughout the genre’s history while weaving subtly different parts into an utterly compelling whole. There is a touch of the downtrodden melancholy of Joy Division about No Children Laughing Now, for instance, while something about the high energy hand-wringing of Why is powerfully reminiscent of classic Alkaline Trio. The high atmospherics and purposeful heft of Pat Benatar cover Hell Is For Children and Just A Matter Of Time owe a little to Type O Negative. The shimmering post-punk of Instinct could’ve come from The Cure.
By the time you reach the conclusive title-track, however – an impishly playful little number that surges from airy indie riffage and handclaps into tearaway guitar-solos and thunderous drums – the only band you’ll want to talk about will be the one whose name is pressed onto this album. Follow them into the sunset, and Unto Others will reward you with no end of dark delight.
For fans of: In Solitude, She Wants Revenge, Type O Negative
Strength is out now via Roadrunner
Unto Others’ new album is due for release in September. Check out the first cut from it, Downtown, now.
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