REVIEW: HANGIN FREUD – SUNKEN (2011)
Did you read the National Best seller, The Devil In The White City? Did you want a soundtrack to accompany you as you read through the haunting accounts of lost souls in Erik Larson’s Novel? Hangin Freud’s album, Sunken is that perfect soundtrack. The duo made up of Paula Borges (vocals) and Jonathan Perez (instruments) started in 2005 and have released their new album on UK’s label, Daddy Tank Records.
Sunken emotes an effortless feeling of dark, blissful dreams. A short album, under 30 minuets you will hit replay again and again. Sunken is proof that music can be both terrifying and beautiful. Borges vocals haunt the tracks, while Perez creates a dreamy, dark, landscape in which he paints her vocals over. The titled track starts out with Borges sings, “Her hair snakes with poison/dancing on her shoulders/all her thoughts are murder/all her love is stone cold” setting the tone for the album.
The entire album is slightly gothic and minimalistic, two things that work for this duo. This is accomplished without that gothic screaming which some bands do. With each track the listener is drawn deep and deeper into the album, as if being beckoned. The album would stand alone in this category even if you took away Borges beautifully, heart-wrenching ghostly vocals. But why would you do that? This duo is doing one thing right and that is putting a spell on you. While the various instrumentals reach different heights, Borges vocals do not. They seem to meander around on the same plane. This would be of bothersome to some, but if you listen it actually really fits. I can’t imagine this album with Borges taking an extreme vocal range. Why? Because it wouldn’t be the same album. There is vulnerability in Borges voice, best featured on tack four, Speak in Tongues. “Even when you die/Even when you doubt/Devil speaks in tongues.”
Instrumentals ranging from droning chords weeping with dissonance to, organ to eerie drum beats paints a lonely, vulnerable, backdrop. If Borges voice doesn’t lure you, the instrumentals will. The album drips lush, velvet tones with dark thoughts we seem to only let out at night.