review | Cyndies – Junkyard II album

Milanese band Cyndies’ debut album Junkyard II was released by Phantasma Disques. It is a rather enigmatic label (with a distinct visual aesthetic), which taps into the zeitgeist of no-budget music production influenced by a large variety of music genres and styles. What is refreshing about Phantasma Disques is that its artists (at least those I have heard) aren’t afraid to venture into marginalized genres, such as Goth, and don’t shun occasional banality (two of the label’s compilation releases were tributes to Twin Peaks–very good tributes, by the way). I would also add that if labels had “sonic profiles,” Phantasma’s would be heavy on electronic noise. All the mentioned elements are present on Junkyard II (welcome banalities in this case would be references to horror movies). Of all the label’s artists, Cyndies is probably closest to the “rock band” template–as opposed to “the lonely bedroom producer”–which makes sense in light of its obvious descendance from post punk, a movement created by groups.

The post punk of the late ’70s and early ’80s is a period in music history that I hold dear to my heart. By “post punk” I mean NOT the militaristic emo with which those words are mostly associated nowadays, but stuff like Throbbing Gristle, Chrome, or early Clock DVA, bands that weren’t afraid of being loose and muddy, that didn’t mind disorienting the listener or even making her physically sick. Sometimes, when I listen to their music, I feel like I’m inside the non-mind of a computer gone haywire in a post-human world, with random noises and shards of speech that do not cohere into any whole. Cyndies’ music is similarly full of malevolent content. Today I listened to Junkyard II after a dose of noise by Wolf Eyes, and it surprised me how structured and “together” Cyndies sounded in comparison, but that doesn’t prevent its music from possessing the right kind of ugliness.

I like following the careers of bands that have something of that early post-punk spirit in them and looking at it through the prism of something else. A good example would be the mindblowing Texan band Indian Jewelry, whose early recordings combine dystopian post-punk sound with a seeming disdain for any kind of “professionalism,” a hillbilly punk charm. As for Cyndies, its sound definitely belongs to the “now,” since in its music the band acknowledges and embraces the decades that have passed since the heyday of the original movement, making nods to rave as well as to the Industrial rock genre–Skinny Puppy in particular. Junkyard II is definitely one of the more interesting Goth-tinged albums that I’ve heard recently. Now, watch the creepy video for Cyndies’ track “Amanda.”



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