Once and again you can just feel that something grand is about to happen when the record spins into action. An electric current in the air driving sparks up and down your spine. Dark Age is one of these records. It may miss a beat from the pulsating greatness of excellence a few times, but on the whole Mothlite delivers.
Daniel O’Sullivan is a man associated with many acts, Æthenor and Ulver just to mention a few, but Mothlite is his very own playground for ideas and moods. Dark Age is the second Mothlite album and differs massively from the first ones, the Flax of Reverie’s, drone/ambient soundscapes. After all, Dark Age is essentially an electronic pop album with more hooks than a line vessel and an atmosphere thicker than that of Titan’s.
The album is constructed with perfect building blocks knicked from the 80’s dark synth pop catalogue and the latest studio know-how works as the cement binding every idea together. Every note has its designated role on the album and O’Sullivans fragile voice forces everything into a tight package. It’s rare to hear releases with this much thought and effort put into dynamics and song structures. Dark Age kicks off with a gospel infused ambient track setting the mood straight from the first seconds in. After that “Disappear” with its glitchy beats introduces the rollercoaster of emotion yet to follow. “Seeing in the Dark” grows into one of the strongest tracks on the record with a non-linear song structure and an amazing instrumentation. The song almost falls into a light progressive rock category. “Something in the Sky” and “Zebras” could both be modernized Tears for Fears emotional strokes, but O’Sullivan once again keeps his palette fresh with surprising bright colours and expressive nuances. Mothlite introduces some electronic and more depressing vibes on tracks like “Dreamsinter Nightspore” and “Milk” as well, but the strongest bits are definitely the ruthless hit potential oozing tracks.
At times Mothlite sounds like something the great Ulver could have mustered up on their latest records and the fact that mr. Rygg himself sings on “The Underneath” only strengthens this sensation. O’Sullivan is off course to be blamed for many turns on the later Ulver turn of events, so that makes it even, I suppose.
This record will probably never be on the commercial radio playlists due to the introvert and extremely melancholic undertones it so gladly caresses. I can almost guarantee that the fans of darker shades of the whole new wave movement will find a very loyal friend in this particular record. For me, this one goes to the top releases this year.