This Cold Night is the solo project of Chase Morledge from Austin, Texas. Their initial release was from 2014, and since then they have put out a constant string of EPs along with two full lengths, 2014’s We of Like Minds and this latest anthology titled The Self, Divided (Lost Demos & Abandoned Tracks).
This anthology is a collection of B-side tracks that Morledge released via a crowdfunding effort, sending individual purchasers a handwritten letter in the mail to start a personal correspondence. These responses will then be collected and used as inspiration for a future release titled: Are We Immortal Yet?
Morledge is infamous for not having a social-media presence, meaning that fans will have an opportunity to connect with him through less modern but more intimate means. To quote his bandcamp page: “I do not exist on social media and neither should you.” No doubt this digital minimalism is the cause for his prolific output, providing him with an abundance of shelved songs to collect in an anthology.
Although this collection is full of unreleased demos from different years, these songs are by no means throwaways, having their own character and depth to them. Morledge’s sound is in a gothic flavor of post-punk known as darkwave, taking inspiration from the dark counterpart of nu-wave that’s characterized by slower tempos, lower pitches, and gloomy atmospheres.
Each demo has a year associated with it, where we can see Morledge’s growth and change through the years. Opener “Wings of Regret II ” has deep resounding vocals that could suck you into the abyss, with acoustic instruments and haunting leads that round out the mix. “Gay Goth Dance Machine ” shows a humurous side to The Cold Night’s otherwise dour landscape, a song that urges one to express oneself and dance despite the outside world’s judging eyes.
Melancholy is the staple of darkwave, taking hints from Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins and The Cure and downcasting it further into gothic territory. But Molredge’s writing is diverse enough that the formula doesn’t feel stale. “The Axe That Grinds ” feels urgent and dystopian, while “Lovers Don’t Wear Gold ” is filled with glittering pads that illustrate a doomed romance. “Drown Me in the River ” is aqueous and sinewy, with lyrics that seem tongue in cheek but hits deeper the more you read into it: “all my dreams are stupid / yet I dream them anyway.”
The Self, Divided shares the work of an artist in its most vulnerable state, never quite polished for headlined release but raw enough to capture their pure intent. Instead of shelving it away or deleting it, Morledge has opted to share it instead as a springboard for his next release. It’s something to look out for, but this anthology is more than enough to tide us over as we wait.