Publicist UK – Forgive Yourself (Relapse)

Thursday, 27th August 2015
Rating: 8/10

Bands/albums like Publicist UK’s Forgive Yourself are now the semi-norm for Relapse. The label, once primarily home to every worthwhile death and grind band going, has diversified its portfolio to the point where anything goes, including a post-new wave outfit featuring some familiar metal faces. (Outside of the one-woman Mykur, Relapse has still yet to take the full-on black metal plunge, though.) Comprised of members of Goes Cube, Municipal Waste, Revocation, and more, Publicist UK have crafted a heady, yet cold, almost provocative album in the form of Forgive Yourself. It’s almost too hip for us regular ‘ole metal dudes. Almost.

In the wheelhouse of 80s wavers like Joy Division and Fields of the Nephilim, Publicist UK’s well-spaced, but song-first style hugs Goth pretty strong, which is fine – the dreary, drab pull of “Slow Dancing to this Bitter Earth,” and “Canary” are both certifiably excellent cuts. Vocalist Zachary Lipez has a dry, almost sarcastic drawl, rarely veering from it, all the while busting out some memorable one-liners and chorus huffs, like on “Away” and album highlight “I Wish You’d Never Gone to School.” Lipez, if anything, feels like he’s talking to you, a conversationalist of a vocalist, if you will. This only works in such a context as this; anywhere else it would be contrived.

Since shoegaze and “post” have been solidified as constant, meaningful terms now in metal, the spotlight should shine rather bright on a band like Publicist UK. Forgive Yourself has an effortless flow, combined with down-trodden, but not wrist-slitting songs that have equal footing in the coffee house, or the back alley. Either way, a sterling debut, and a damn fine “supergroup,” or close to.

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