Los Angeles’ Cold Showers conjures up a dark sound akin to a late night desert meetup between Morrissey and Ian Curtis. Their latest effort, Love and Regret, is an intoxicating 2:00 a.m. escape from the city into a black hole to purge a cloudy mind.
Lead singer Jonathan Weinberg’s vocals have a Morrissey movement and Curtis baritone, while the beats have a hypnotic Joy Division/Curtis franticness. The diamond-sharp rhythm section of Cold Showers shines on lead single “Alight”, where the tribal drums hum like an engine, and the bass has a “One of These Days” bouncing feel. The effect is the bullet out of the gun for the album, and there’s no time to throttle back as the track feeds back into the higher gear of “Don’t Mind”.
Love and Regret wears reverb like a raincoat. It’s clutched to the chest, head down, and driving forward. The instruments are set back in the mix, and they bounce off each other softly in the dark. The buzz-saw synths take center stage on tracks like second single “BC” and “In Terms of Pleasure”, but they are ever-present, phasing in and out underneath it all.
At times, the music is playing it a little too safe under the reverb. More dynamics or a bit more vastness in the sound might’ve elevated tracks like “New Dawn” and “Violent Cries”. But if the biggest criticism is asking for more of the same, then it’s evident that Cold Showers, with their magical throwback transfigurations, have carved out something fine.
Essential Tracks: “Alight”, “Don’t Mind”, “In Terms of Pleasure”