Cool Summer Records, 2011
It’s been a while since a decent wave of goth-tinged punk has circulated, so this succulent swipe of darkwave punk from Santa Barbara was a welcome surprise. While cheesy, costumed goth groups are as common and dull as your local Hot Topic, it’s a rare treat to find groups or scenes that really do it well and avoid being a formulaic, melodramatic joke. The amazing stuff coming out of the Bay Area at the turn of the century comes to mind, exemplified by bands like the Phantom Limbs, The Vanishing, Sixteens, and Black Ice. They had theatrics, but it wasn’t their focus and there was an earnestness to what they did that made their music so compelling. Most of all, they never veered into the comicbook tones of horror punk, which certainly isn’t a bad thing — just not as rare or powerful. Crimson Scarlet’s music eschews the synthpunk of those scenes and pulls its inspiration from the deeper goth veins of Siouxsie & The Banshees and mixes it with punch of SoCal deathpunk like TSOL and 45 Grave, bringing a straightfaced and sincere take on this form into a contemporary setting. You can check out the two killer tracks on this 7″ on their Bandcamp page or pickup the beautifully packaged crimson scarlet-colored vinyl from Cool Summer Records.