ARTIST: Signals & Alibis + ALBUM: Aislada + LABEL: Independent + RELEASE DATE: SEP 28, 2019
Post-punk is a thriving genre in Dallas-Fort Worth. Recent releases by Nervous Curtains, Aztec Death, and the much anticipated LP from Rosegarden Funeral Party are a just few examples. If you sleep on Signals & Alibis new EP, Aislada, you will certainly hate yourself from the bottomless depths of your black heart. Steeped in the sounds of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and Curve (among others), the band only reaches back in an effort to lunge forward with a sound that is both bold and delicate. Comprised of vocalist Rebecca Jozwiak, guitarist Brian Carter, and bassist Joshua Beene (who all also play synths), the band originally formed in 2010 and most recently were a duo of Jozwiak and Carter prior to bringing Beene into the fold. With Aislada they offer perhaps their most mature and intricate release since 2016’s Looks Like Rain EP.
Whether they’re layering synth melodies against a catchy vocal line, like on the opener “Glitch,” or letting a languid guitar part wind around a programmed beat (“Miss Mary”), the often confounding sounds are contrasted and elevated by Jozwiak’s ethereal vocals. On “Safety Net” a piano creates a dreamy soundscape with the help of a bouncy bass line before beats and soaring vocals come together for the chorus. It’s a song that makes you want to sway, though no one will fault you if you’re tempted to dance. The title track is driven by a threatening synth underlain by a fragile guitar that slowly and subtly becomes stronger as the song progresses. Jozwiak’s voice soars over the music, but it melds with the other sounds as it’s own instrument rather than pushing against them. “Bottomfeeder” is characterized by it’s skittering sounds and beats as the song opens before eventually ascending for the chorus in a triumphant arc. There’s two hidden tracks on the release, both of which were released on streaming services last August. First, is their cover of Siouxsie and the Banshee’s “Kiss Them For Me” and the other, “After All.” On “Kiss Them,” they strip down the song to it’s bare essentials and let Jozwiak take center stage. Making the song their own, it’s definitely an example of how the band can re-envision the sounds that inspired them. Indeed, this exemplifies the aesthetic of the previous songs. “After All” is sprawling dirge that perfectly closes out the EP. Again, Jozwiak is at the forefront as crashing synths juxtapose her voice with a hypnotic effect.
We highly recommend Aislada. Though it’s only 7-songs deep, there’s enough here for you to chew on and digest as we (hopefully soon) enter fall and winter. If goth, post-punk, or shoegaze is your jam, this is a must-have addition to your library. The band has two release shows coming up, first at the Armoury in Deep Ellum on September 28th and then at Main at South Side in Fort Worth on October 5th. Get out to one or both of these shows, get a copy of the EP, and support this excellent band.
– J. Kevin Lynch