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  • David Bentley

The Killing Tapes (SE) – ‘The Witch’ (single from forthcoming album)

We, or should I say I, have deviated a little into the pop world in recent reviews so time to return to a bit of old-fashioned rock, courtesy of Sweden’s The Killing Tapes. They paint themselves as “serving music to the connoisseurs of good music. Marcus Crede and Peter Svensson have been making music since the Dark Ages and are known as the ‘Kings of Dark Pop.’”

It’s good to know that there are still musicians around from a thousand or so years ago but I have to take issue with this being ‘dark pop’. I’d classify it as alt-rock before pop, with its booming drums, stirring analog synth passages and piercing guitar riffs but more importantly I wouldn’t regard it as being ‘dark.’

Slightly ethereal, yes, but the vocalist (I don’t know who it is, I’ll guess it’s Marcus), sounds like a sort of cross between The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and Martin Fry of ABC. The first of those could have his moments but the latter two are national treasures and not for being ‘dark.’

Not a bad combination, really and there is a distinct retro feel to the track.

They are a new band and I reckon that when they got together in 2020 they appreciated having been thrust right back into the Dark Ages where they feel comfortable. It took then some time to find a producer but when they finally found one (Roy Lundberg) at the back end of last year he brought with him the sound they were after.

If I read their social media correctly this is another - the third - track from a forthcoming album called ‘Black’ on which they are working. The previous song was called ‘First Love’, a title that belongs to one of my favourite compositions of all time, the wonderful five minute journey from first encounter to first orgasm that is Emmy the Great’s acoustic alt-pop masterpiece.

The Killing Tapes’ story is also a love story but one with a twist as they say and it is quite heavycompared to ‘The Witch’. They clearly have several strings to their bow and it will be intriguing to see just how ‘Black’ plays out. Written during a difficult period in Marcus’ life it seems that he used a series of 1990s murders as the reference point.

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