Translated as ‘Houses Are Silent’, Belarussian trio Molchat Doma built on their local reputation in 2018 with the release of their second album Etazhi (its Anglicised title), which performed impressively on YouTube and Bandcamp. Dealing in a Depeche Mode-esque mixture of post-punk, new wave and synth-pop, the album now finds a wider release on Sacred Bones.
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Online algorithms are a weird one. Some videos from Mogwai and Low boasts millions of views thanks to the autoplay feature, whilst tried and tested favourites of their other songs have only been played a few thousand times. You might be streaming one of your favourite albums or checking out some new music one second, then the next thing you know you’ve lost concentration and ended up finding your new favourite band. Getting lost down an Internet rabbit hole can be super rewarding, and for groups like Molchat Doma, it can boost their career massively. Following their huge success on streaming platforms, Sacred Bones snapped them up to give their two albums a widespread reissue.
The Belarusian group slot rather nicely into the Sacred Bones roster with their gothic take on synthpop and post-punk, sitting adjacent to acts like The Soft Moon, Black Marble and Jenny Hval. Their sound also encompasses the stark coldwave of early The Cure, the goth-punk minimalism of Joy Division, and Depeche Mode’s dark new wave. The music of ‘Этажи’ is evocative of both the wintery landscapes of Minsk and the grey Brutalist structure on the sleeve. Austere drum machines meet the monotone Russian prose of Egor Shkutko, chiming high-pitched synth melodies and driving basslines.
Despite the strict restraint on show throughout ‘Houses Are Silent’, Molchat Doma keep things interesting throughout by switching up the pace and temperament. I’d be surprised if funky fast-paced numbers like ‘Filmy’ and ‘Toska’ hadn’t been played at a goth disco before, whilst the intro track ‘Na Dne’ is a Black Celebration of meaty basslines and an irresistibly catchy synth hook. ‘Prognoz’ sounds like it could soundtrack an 80s soviet video game, and the icy closer ‘Kletka’ makes me want to re-watch a Tarkovsky film and go out for a wander in the snow.
Molchat Doma certainly show their influences on their sleeve, but ‘Houses Are Silent’ is so irresistibly charming in its redolent sound that it’s a certain winner. If you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned acts then grab your black overcoat and snap up this record pronto.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Этажи by Molchat Doma
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