22
Apr
08

Music Monday: Floodland

As you may have guessed by the title, the album up for review today is:

The Sisters of Mercy – Floodland

November 1987, two years since the debut album by the band, and they had already split up by the release of this album. Confused? It’s all actually relatively simple. The Sisters of Mercy; originally a four-and-a-half piece rock band (their drummer was a drum machine) with gothic overtones, full of jangly guitars, moody lyrics, and wearing sunglasses at night. After the release of the first album First and Last and Always, internal tensions caused the band to split up during writing for their follow-up, with Andrew Eldritch eventually taking the Sisters of Mercy name, and the remaining members forming The Mission.

Working effectively as a solo artist, Eldritch wrote the entirety of the second album himself, and made a marked departure from the guitar-led format of the former album. Instead, we were treated to synthesised landscapes, clunking basses, and songs of en epic nature. The major success sotry of this album was the single This Corrosion, which made it to No.7 in the UK singles chart. The song itself is grandiose affair, incorporating the New York Choral Society into a straight-out rock song, that manages to pack more energy into 11 minutes than many bands can pack into a whole album. But whereas this song, Dominion/Mother Russia and Lucretia My Reflection (with its killer bass-line, and industrious drum beat) provide the rock side of the album, it’s in the other songs in which we find the album’s real highlights.

Where Dominion/Mother Russia sets the scene for the album, allowing for fans of the band’s earlier output to adjust, Flood I is where the album really kicks off, with’s it’s disassociated drumbeats and strained guitars crashing into a synth-led dirge with an eastern tinge that shows the direction the album is going to follow. The real highlight of the album though, comes with Driven Like The Snow, a true landscape track, with haunting synths overlying Eldritch’s tortured vocals.

The vinyl version of the album finished with the minimalist Never Land (a fragment), but the CD version included two extra tracks, Torch and Colours. Originally B-sides for This Corrosion, they now provide a perfect close for the album, again adopting the heavily synth-laden approach, with Colours featuring just one repeated verse, the song instead focusing on the building layers of music throughout.

There’s not a single track on this album I don’t enjoy listening to, and whilst it’s not a Sunday afternoon style of album to listen to, there’s a lot to be explored in the dark corners Eldritch touches upon here. If you can, pick up the recent re-issue of the album, as there’s an expanded version of Never Land, as well as a surprisingly good cover of Hot Choclate’s Emma.

Song To Download: Driven Like The Snow

Song To Skip Past: At a very big push, 1959. You still shouldn’t really skip any of the album though.

Overall: 10/10

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