SCATTERED ASHES Single Review: Dublin goths manifest sonic claustrophobia on debut single “Love Is Not Enough”

© Scattered Ashes, 2021

By Varun Govil

There are two facts that have become undeniable: First, post-punk is back and it’s here to say, and second, the Irish know how to write brilliant guitar music. From the return of My Bloody Valentine to streaming and the dominance of bands like The Murder Capital, Fontaines D.C., and Just Mustard it’s clear that the Isle is unrelenting in its output of groundbreaking artists. With the emergence of gothic quartet SCATTERED ASHES, it seems as though that output is not slowing down anytime soon.

With support from radio legend Steve Lamacq and help in the studio from Dan Doherty (former producer for Fontaines D.C)and Pete Maher (the man behind U2 and more), the Dublin-based band have made it clear that they have all it takes to match the recognition that many of their aforementioned contemporaries obtained. Listening to their debut single “Love Is Not An Option” it becomes easy to see why right from the first chord. Entering the sonic space with a yelping guitar chord that gives way to a playful yet dark bass line, the track makes its presence known. With a bed of light synths and graceful guitars supporting the verses of vocalist Rob Dalton, it’s not long before the cynical and poetic personality of the bands come into full effect.

© Scattered Ashes, 2021

While it’s hard to ignore the heavy influence of Joy Division, Bauhaus, and even Bloc Party at times on the sound, the track is much more than a retelling of post-punk and its countless revivals. Not limiting itself to the reserved performances of the 20th century but also creating an aura of claustrophobia that many bands on the airways fail to capture, SCATTERED ASHES can not be mistaken for anyone but themselves. From the ferocious drumming on the choruses to the triumphant cries and clamouring backing vocals there’s a palpable life to the 3 minutes and 45 seconds of music. Simultaneously, though, the restraint of the guitars and Dalton’s almost spoken voice keep the space tight and in contrast to the pummels of the drums. 

The first track from the band and a prelude to an upcoming three track EP, “Love Is Not An Option” is emblematic of the staying power of all things goth. A powerful reminder to not take my ears away from Ireland, SCATTERED ASHES have made a convincing case on why you should keep tabs on them.

Their recent single is available on all good streaming platforms.

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