Artist: The Cassandra Complex
Title: The Plague
Genre: Electro /Goth / Industrial
Release Date: 6th May 2022
Label: Complex Music
When you’ve lived through just about every genre that’s ever been invented - and shaped one or two along the way- it’s probably okay to have a 22-year gap between releases. And so, it is with the UK’s THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX, who no doubt has their reasons for waiting so long to continue on the musical train. Perhaps they have been off doing incredibly useful things, perhaps discovering new types of fungi in Borneo, perhaps raising families or building sheds or making model aircraft… or perhaps they are just lazy. No matter. Here they are, with the entirely topically titled ‘The Plague’, ready to put those 22 years firmly behind them. Perhaps.
And how absolutely on the nose is opening track ‘Hotline To Elvis’? With the rampant surge in nutters spouting conspiracy theories during the pandemic, this hilarious and topical diatribe on the existence of Elvis, delivered in absolute deadpan and with a bouncing, addictive backing track, is the perfect antidote - funny but still menacing. ‘We Defend Ourselves’ has a ‘90’s groove, and a sparseness allowing the lyrics to take centre stage in this disturbing state-of-the-nation address, dragging itself along on barely concealed rage and disgust. There’s first-generation punk ire running through the fabulous ‘The Crown Lies Heavy On The King’, with a perfect post-punk chorus to shake a fist along to - something distinctly THE DAMNED about this one, although by ‘Old Boys Network’ THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX manage to weld Dave Vanian onto an odd mix of CABARET VOLTAIRE and DEVO. And make it work.
‘Speed Of Sound’ has the unique honour of sounding like JOY DIVISION’S ‘Atmosphere’, and let’s be honest, if you can pull that off you really are doing something right. Of course, by now, it’s clear the influences at work on ‘The Plague’ are definitely not from the last 22 years. But no matter. There’s some rather generic funereal goth grumbling and mumbling about on ‘In The Dead Of Night’ and ‘The Great Sea’, a bit of plinky synth to lift the mood somewhat on ‘The Best Thing’ (the bass melding this again into JOY DIVISION territory) and some hand-wringing angst on the gnarly part spoken-word ‘All 3’. Final track ‘I Miss you’ is an urgent, piano-led lament that builds to a maudlin climax before a whispered kiss-off that somehow isn’t convincing enough.
‘The Plague’ is best when up to date and hitting the spot with lyrically hard-hitting observations and a cynical take on the endless recycling of genres and topics. When it gets its feet stuck in the muddy past it simply stalls, wishing it was still 1980, mired in nostalgia. But there is enough here to suggest THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX, having survived a 22-year gap doing who knows what, still have enough about them to cause a stir and keep at least one old boot in the relevant camp.
01. Hotline To Elvis
02. We Defend Ourselves
03. The Crown Lies Heavy On The King
04. Old Boys Network
05. Speed Of Sound
06. In The Dead Of Night
07. The Great Sea
08. The Best Thing
09. All 3
10. I Miss You
http://cassandracomplex.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/thecassandracomplex
Total: 7 / 10