For anyone searching for melancholic new wave/goth to fill out some vacant time for recollection, look no further than Salt Lake City’s Sculpture Club. The band channels Robert Smith, Morrissey and the whole wave of Brit rock and goth in their latest album Worth. This eleven track collection is full of romantic and dreamy pop wonders. With a hazy shoegaze aesthetic and an array of synths driving with heartfelt urgency, Sculpture Club manages to revive an old sound and fill it with modern ideas.
The band sticks to simple compositions and melodies, which make each cut relatively easy to latch on to. Once the hook sinks in, the atmospheric wealth and the wonderful arrangements of these songs reveal themselves fully. What’s surprising to me is how the music doesn’t sound dated. Come to think of it, the loneliness and melancholy felt through the 80’s feels even more relevant to this time of day. Themes of being lost and not having enough are prevalent in this album, reflecting a society reaching out for hope amidst wave after wave of challenges.
Tracks like “Just One More” evoke this feeling so profoundly. With stellar riffs, somber acoustic guitars and hollowed-out vocals, this bone-chilling earworm is a striking example of the band’s romantic artistry.
Elsewhere in “Fluttering”, singer Chaz Costello takes on a subdued and hazy tone. With uplifting harmonies and each instrument’s timbre taking on a cold dose of reverb, it feels like goth intertwined with lush sentimentality.
The band’s flexibility in these 80’s to 90’s styles manifests in “Clean It Up”, a heartfelt tune that could have been taken straight from that era’s MTV, with a black and white aesthetic complete with a brooding lead singer pouring their heart out on the screen.
Follow-up “Teeth and Tongue” is infused with indie jangle, an addition that makes it feel more urgent, light on its feet and closer to this era of indie rock. Still, Costello’s delivery provides a healthy dose of gloom in this song about reaching out for hope from the heavens.
By far the biggest highlights in this album include “Shed the Salt”, where a slow and atmospheric arrangement of keys and guitars burn through like a cinematic curtain call for our hard-boiled noir protagonist. Pop closer and lead single “Twirl for Me” is a bright and sorrowful tune that covers the emotional range of this whole album succinctly. A good first listen for anyone wanting to dive in.
Sculpture Club’s Worth is an outpouring of love and emotion, masterfully carrying the torch for an old decade of music that’s still well-loved and still holds truth.