This writer can’t help but be bombarded by memories of The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds and especially Faith when listening to Love and Demise, the latest offering from Tony D’Oporto under the banner of Suffering For Kisses. True to the genre, the album presents a straightforward brand of proto-goth/rock post-punk, full of saccharine melodies befitting a stroll through the fog lit by the sodium haze of streetlamps at midnight. Given the more aggressively rhythmic and experimental nature of his other projects like Gnome and Crisis Actor, one could forgive D’Oporto for relegating the songs on Love and Demise to the simplicity of two chords, the instrumental layers of icy pianos, wispy droning pads, chilled bass and guitar, and sparse drumbeats making for an effective underscore to his baritone vocals. Is it a bit formulaic and typical of the genre? Well, yes… but that does appear to be the point, and for all of their austerity, these songs do posses their own little nuances to be worth a listen. For instance, the opening “Tonight” enters with a pulsating synth like the rotary blades of a helicopter, the rest of the instrumentation supplementing a sense of urgency, particularly in the chiming guitar tone. D’Oporto’s voice is darkly sensual yet menacing – not so much a croon as the raspy and lecherous thoughts of a predator on the prowl, the two-chord progression adding to the single-minded vibe. Similarly, the monotony of “Ashes” is rather relentless as it mirrors the obsessiveness and isolation evoked by the repetitions of “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” while the instrumental “Relapse” bears an almost plodding, pacing, somewhat impatient quality with its resonant pianos, slithering synth drones, and a light percussive beat that sounds like someone striking found objects in the throes of frustration at an inevitable ennui. As well, “Innocence” stands out for its unusually dry drum sound, as well as Nick Brennan’s more spirited guitar style. On the other hand, “Change” shows D’Oporto singing with a bit of desperation as the slight quivers instill a sympathetic sense of a soul trying hard not to plead, but must. The glistening keyboards on this track amid the breathy ambience and electro-disco beat create a nice cloudy haze, as do the pianos, bass, and guitars hovering like a half-forgotten reverie atop the guttural thrust of the drums on “To Kiss the Stars.” Once again, the wavering of D’Oporto’s voice feels like he’s coming apart under the weight of experiencing cosmic bliss, but is immediately discarded once the vibrant accompaniment by Elenor Rayner enters ghostly, mocking, lamenting… it’s a lovely end to an album that is sure to please genre fans. Again, Suffering For Kisses doesn’t stray too far from the goth/rock and post-punk template, nor do Tony D’Oporto and his cohorts seem interested in doing so; no, he seems content to leave that to others, preferring to let his music be a simple enjoyment of the classic sound, which at least makes Love and Demise a pleasantly monochromatic sojourn.