Released in the UK last fall on Hungry Audio, Age of Denial recently saw the light of day in the US on limited edition vinyl, courtesy of Minty Fresh, to commemorate Record Store Day. This was the Norwich, UK, outfit’s first American release, and will hopefully spark more interest in the group. While I’d never listened to Sennen before, other than hearing their stellar cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” I had seen their name tossed around favorably on shoegaze forums and always meant to check them out. While researching this piece, I was quite surprised to learn how much of a back catalog they’ve accumulated since their debut EP Widows (Hungry Audio, 2005), including several full-lengths and a large number of singles and compilation cuts. Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.
Though presumably named after the Ride track on the Today Forever EP (Creation, 1991), Sennen have a pretty multi-dimensional sound, going far beyond reviving the classic Creation Records sound. Consisting of Laurence Holmes (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Richard Kelleway (vocals, guitar), Tim Kelleway (bass), and James Brown (drums), the group conjures up darker sound-scapes than is typical in this nu-gaze genre, bringing to mind the likes of post-punk icons, such as early U2, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, or even the twisted glam of Placebo.
The in-your-face title track kicks things off with pounding beats and fuzzy guitar, as it builds to an epic chorus before fading into a sweeping, U2-like atmosphere near the end, bringing to mind the moodier material on The Unforgettable Fire (Island, 1984). This pattern of mixing softer and louder dynamics continues throughout Age of Denial to great affect, as on “With You,” which merges Joy Division-like precision beats within a summery pop song, and “Falling Down,” which starts slow and builds to a crashing finale like the best of Ride and Slowdive. Another huge highlight is “S.O.S.,” which has a similar drive to Depeche Mode classics “Behind the Wheel” and “Never Let Me Down Again.” “Red Horizon” is a fantastic slow burner, a powerful melody carrying the song as its instrumentation builds and builds but never quite explodes. The tension sets things up for the following track, the crushing “I Can See the Light,” a stunning piece recalling Catherine Wheel on Ferment (Fontana, 1992), especially when the guitars kick into stun-gun mode.Visit: Sennen | Minty Fresh
Purchase: Insound | eMusic