Dear Tired Friends – Audra (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

They say that a man is known by the company he keeps. The same can be said for a band. So the fact that Audra have been found on the road in the company of the likes of Peter Murphy, The Mission, AFI, She Wants Revenge, Gene Loves Jezebel, New Model Army and Nitzer Ebb, speaks volumes about their character. Back after 10 years, brothers Bart and Bret Helm return with a gorgeous slice of dark sonic infusion, taking in goth, glam, post-punk and evoking the likes of Bowie, Iggy, Intepol and any number of the aforementioned touring buddies.

And whilst the term gothic, when applied to music at least, can raise a few eyebrows by those not versed in its exquisite charms, it is fair to say that there is definitely something very gothic about this album. Not the theatrical hi-jinks of those bands who had merely watched too many episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, nor the modern rebranding which is essentially metals strange little cousin. Dear Tired Friends drips with gothic romanticism, in both the windswept and lovelorn, literary sense and the brooding and emotive sonic sense, as per Bauhaus. Imagine Wayne Hussey writing a soundtrack to Wuthering Heights.

Planet of Me is the perfect example of this, a tribal beat driving moody melodies, space and atmosphere being just as much an integral part of the sound and featuring the not inconsiderable talents of Lycia’s Mike Van Portfleet on guitar. At other extremes they move into more structured and fulsome territories, Drinking Yourself to Sleep’s chiming riffs and shimmering rhythms having plenty in common with The Church. And sometimes they just go for the out and out, low-slung rock attitude with opener Tired Friends, drawing on Stooges inspired staccato onslaughts and Wish No Harm hanging splintered shards of guitar on the grooviest of bass lines.

Ten years is a long time to wait but sometimes the wait is worth it. This is one of those times.

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