May 2023 01

Album CoverThe Funeral March
Album: Persephone EP
Category: Goth / Rock / Post-Punk
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2023-03-15
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


Past singles and EPs by The Funeral March of the Marionettes – now thankfully shortened to The Funeral March – demonstrated a keen grasp of the foundations of early goth/rock and post-punk, with traces of Bauhaus, Joy Division, and The Cure so readily apparent. However, this Persephone EP sees J. Whiteaker and W. Thiele concentrating their influential focus on that latter band, with virtually all five tracks sounding like outtakes or even alternate takes from The Cure’s legendary Pornography album. This is not just due to the EP’s spacious and downright frigid production, although that is a major component – shrill and glassy guitars cutting through like shards of a broken mirror, flanged bass that is as groovy as it is gritty, and the cold waves of strident drum machines and wispy keyboard accompaniments for added eeriness. All the while, Whiteaker’s vocal tone hovers emotive and drenched in reverb, lacking only the overtly British affectations of Robert Smith’s voice to distinguish it. Even the lyrics reference Pornography with the Siamese twins in “Two As One,” or the kissing creatures in the rain in the opening “Figured,” its martial drumming patterns very reminiscent of that album’s “The Hanging Garden,” while “Nite Nite” bears more than a passing resemblance to “A Strange Day.”

It might seem unfair to criticize the band for clearly having an affinity for one of the genre’s definitive oeuvres, and it isn’t as if The Funeral March doesn’t infuse a fair amount of distinct effects throughout Persephone. For instance, “Kiss Me (With Your Last Breath)” is rather serene in its disparate ambience, each element veering into an atonal dissonance that may sound slightly off-key, but is rather spookily enticing. Similarly, the metallic marimba-esque synth in “Two As One” give the vocals an eerie resonance that plays well against the abrasive and almost industrial drive of the percussion, and the repetitions of “It all ends the same” along with the closing shriek of “Wasted Moon” conclude the EP in grand dramatic fashion. Although one would hope that Whiteaker and Thiele will put forth a greater effort on future releases to sound less like a carbon copy, it’s hard to condemn the EP too harshly for its blatant similarities to Pornography; it is, as stated, one of the genre’s essential moments, and this writer’s favorite album by The Cure. All in all, Persephone is a fine effort from a band that seems content not to break the gothic mold.
Track list:

  1. Figured
  2. Nite Nite
  3. Two As One
  4. Kiss Me (With Your Last Breath)
  5. Wasted Moon

The Funeral March
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