Darkwave is an interesting sect of electronic music, often misidentified as IDM or goth industrial. Truth be told, darkwave has combines many more genres to make its identity. With roots in punk, goth post punk and post rock, darkwave could be seen as EDM or IDM’s moody kid sister. In their first EP, Night Tongue take darkwave and ratchet it up with even more post-punk and goth sounds to make Achelous & Melpomene spooky, sexy and beautiful all at once.
Having worked with post punk royalty like David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets, Steve Albini and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s no wonder this duo from Australia has a little more post punk in their sound than the average darkwave artist. It works well here, however, as there’s always something fun about listening to a piece of work and trying to figure out which parts are electronic and which are analog instruments. The lines are perfectly blurred on Achelous & Melpomene, and the EP thus becomes a perfect form of both genres and a great way for punk-leaning EDM fans to cut their teeth on the eerie and ambient world of darkwave.
Named after the myth of the Greek myth of titan Achelous and ancient muse Melpomene’s tryst which spawned the sirens and meant to follow this timeless story through out its course, Night Tongue’s debut EP is three tracks of haunting, ambient bliss. The lead track, “Nautical Heart,” contains that perfect split of darkwave and post punk, while “The Gate” is actually a bit more towards post rock (think Nick Cave), but just as haunting and beautiful. The closing track of this mini EP is called “Heiros Gamos” is the most grounded in electronica and is a study in ambient music which follows a classical form.
It’s up to EDM and electronica fans to decide if they like the form of darkwave and its connections to post punk and post rock, but with a group like Night Tongue and an EP like Achelous & Melpomene to bring these oft-neglected genres back to popular electronica, it seems the decision is easy. Night Tongue are definitely a duo to watch, as it seems they’re just getting started with their re-imagining of darkwave.