The Sweet Kill flanks paralyzing industrial grooves with lush melodicism of the most erudite variety in his latest release, the stunning Love & Death, a six-song extended play that presents listeners with a sleekly-mixed collection of dirges and devastatingly cathartic electro-power ballads alike. In songs like the brooding “Powerless” and stellar single “The Girl Who Kissed the World Goodbye,” we’re hypnotized by enormous harmonies between a refined string melody and an overwhelming synthesized beat, but despite the larger than life quality of the music, nothing can distract our attention from the vibrant vocal acting as our direct line to these visceral verses. If you haven’t already sampled from the exquisite dark pop in this phenomenal solo project’s discography, I would highly recommend taking a look at this monolithic EP, which presently stands as The Sweet Kill’s very best so far.
“War” opens up Love & Death with an ominous bassline and soaring vocal reminiscent of the melancholic croon that we heard last Valentine’s Day in the stylish “Fuck Love,” which ended up being one of my favorite singles of the late winter season. The tonality of the instrumentation here, as well as in “Goodnight” and the cover song “Hurt,” is almost noir-esque in its construction, with the Nine Inch Nails tune skewing electrified beats with a chilly reverb that lingers in the atmosphere around us long after the music has ceased to play. Though colorless, the percussion introduces a brilliant aesthetical texture to the rhythm that wouldn’t have been there otherwise in “Hello World,” and we never feel like any of the components in the song were added in a last-ditch attempt at including an exotic embellishment.
The production value of Love & Death is sublimely slick, but not overdone in the least. The Sweet Kill employs a pretty straightforward, concise style of attack in “War,” “The Girl Who Kissed the World Goodbye” and “Powerless,” and the master mix never intrudes on the unabashedly physical nature of the music. It’s a lot more muscular a pop effort than most any other that I’ve had the chance to review in the past few months has been, and I like that for as potent a punch as the instruments provide, the vocal track remains dead center in the spotlight from start to finish.
Fans of smart alternative music won’t be disappointed with what they find in The Sweet Kill’s Love & Death, and for my money, it’s everything that a chic synth pop record should be and then some. Though comprised of only six songs, Love & Death doesn’t feel restrained by its limited length, nor does it translate as fragmented in comparison to what we would hear in a full-blown album thanks to its wickedly vivid substance. There’s something here for everyone from pop aficionados to indie rock disciples, and if it’s a taste of what The Sweet Kill is currently developing in the studio at the moment, I must say that I am very excited to hear more. While 2019 has been full of over-hyped releases, this is one EP that undisputedly lives up to all of the buzz.