Amateur Cult – The Mirrored Pattern
Release Date: October 28, 2022
Label: Armellodie Records
Format: Album | Digital
Duration: 37:31 | 11 tracks
Genre: Post Punk / Darkwave
Origin: Edinburgh, Scotland
If you are acquainted with Edinburgh’s Post Punk-, Indie Rock-, or Darkwave scene, the name Alastair Chivers will sound familiar. Chivers is the frontman of DTHPDL and False Bliss, and has started a new project called Amateur Cult during the times of lockdowns and isolation in 2020 and 2021. It was the time when many of us suddenly were confronted with ourselves, with thoughts on life and death, and with a standstill amidst our heavily rotating world. In these challenging times, Alastair Chivers consumed electronic, avantgardist and gloomy music alongside documentaries and thus gathered his own thoughts on life on Earth. The artist he is, Chivers created soundscapes and songs that convey his ideas about estrangement, social media and reality, beliefs and relationships, politics and media. As a result, the first Amateur Cult album „The Mirrored Pattern“ which is a 37-minute exploration of a dark but colourful universe is now available via Armellodie Records.
Born from Confusion
The years 2020 and 2021 were coined by confusion and incertainty – not that 2022 had better stuff to offer, but that is besides the point. This hazy and insecure feeling is musicked in „The Mirrored Patterns“ introductory instrumental and drone track ‚Synth Comm‘. The mist clears as Amateur Cult and guest musician Harry Martin on the trumpet enter with the shoegazy and atmospheric Post Punk track ‚You be you‘. The sunny mood is then quickly interrupted by the pitch black and nightmarish Darkwave song ‚The Ritual‘ which then leads into the still dark but empowering Hip Hop track ‚Ashes‘ featuring TH!NK on vocals. Like from ashes we all come and ashes we will all be, the cohesive sonic rollercoaster ride continues, and Amateur Cult let their audience relax to the sedative sounds of ‚Hipporealism‘. Dark Electronica and glitchy Wave sounds create a mesmerizing musical environment here.
Following the Golden Thread
Continuing with the bipolar structure, mood-wise another melancholic or low episode is introduced by the LoFi Synthwave (and somewhat Dungeon Synth-ish) track ‚Memories of an Old Empire‘. If the instrumental piece is a cynical take on the British Empire on which sun once never set, is up to the recipients‘ interpretation. Nevertheless, the minimalist but thrilling Synth motifs dynamically gallop across a dark background like mice on the basement floor. In this section, „The Mirrored Pattern“ contains some parallels to The Mountain King’s „Tsunami of Hope„. Since in dark times, good advice can be crucial, the next track ‚Everything will be OK‘ comes in like an uplifting talk with a friend or a warming sunbeam that breaks through the thick clouds of melancholy and miserability. It is that unique feeling that tells you that things will improve on the one hand, but also reveals how terrible off you are currently on the other hand. All listeners who have ever struggled with severe depressive episodes will comprehend.
Ascending from the Depths
Here, the album has reached its dramatical climax. If „The Mirrored Pattern“ was a classic drama, we would now enter the fourth act. The protagonist has received advice from a deus ex machina and is hence ascending from the darkness they were trapped in before. The uplifting character of the music increases in ‚Fire and Full‘ and finds its maximum in the empowering Post Punk anthem ‚Sigh with the Sea‘. The latters features the stunning vocals by Emily Smith and a choir by Thomas F Newell, Davy King, Claire Halavage, Stevie Cossar, Flo Atkinson, And Craig Angus. But before all closure can be reached, one final battle has to be fought. Video gamers will know that the ‚Final Battle with the Boss‘ is always the heaviest but also the most entertaining of all struggles to be fought. And to finalize this coherent album, the Darkwave battle hymn is followed by the triumphant title track.
Amateur Cult has created a cohesive sonic narrative, „The Mirrored Pattern“ is an empathetic and intelligent work with a great storyline. 9/10 Mangoes