Cold Showers‘ Facebook page has long been a library of deep-cut, goth-tinged new romantic guitar pop: The Sound; Depeche Mode; Disintegration-era The Cure (live shows all). It’s also been a preview of the band’s sonic direction—a February, 2012 posting of a Cars track (1978’s Don’t Cha Stop) presaged “Double Life”, Cold Showers’ cover of that band on Love and Regret, their last full-length. So when the band began posting French coldwave tracks from bands like Trisomie 21 and Guerre Froide early last year, it was telling, even if today’s payoff comes late. “Only Human,” the second single from the upcoming Matter of Choice, revitalizes coldwave’s industrial, political acoustics as it compresses them into a tight, four-minute pop song.
Jon Weinberg’s self-doubt, a theme throughout Cold Showers’ discography, is here weaponized as a method of seduction. “Only Human” begins with a four-on-the-floor house beat and cold, synthesized vamping. Airy, delayed guitar weaves through the beat’s cracks before Weinberg’s menacing, self-effacing croon cuts in: “Morals aside, you could have it.” The affect is starkly sensual, evoking the escapism of a crowded, stylish dance hall.
In France, however, that darkly sexy aesthetic existed as an outlet for political agencies frustrated by the country’s unpopular austerity measures. Given recent events in Greece, the political climate of the present age seems strikingly similar. “From the tip of your tongue mercy awaits/and cuts like a knife;” the violence that fuels those who would dance to “Only Human” also frustrates itself, preventing any sort of communion—”Heaven’s distraction.” “Only Human” is not mere kitchy goth. By reveling in the dark of self effacement, it confronts you with its horror.
You can stream “Only Human” below. Matter of Choice is due out on 28th August via DAIS Records.