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Where the bloody hell do I begin with Storm the Sky’s ‘Sin Will Find You‘?
It’s an album full of twists and turns, emotional outpourings at every corner and an entirely new direction for the Melbourne outfit. I guess the first place to begin talking about this record is the fact that I’ve never really heard an album like this before.
In some ways, that may sound like I’m being hyperbolic but I’m deadly serious. The unique blend of pop, trip-hop, and post-rock flavour all culminates into an experience that I’ve never before gotten the chance to take part in. Perhaps there’s some random band floating out there in the ether of the Internet with a similar style to that of ‘Sin Will Find You‘ and I’m just not aware of them. But it’s safe to say that they probably don’t do it as well as Storm the Sky do.
Because even though there’s an array of influence that ranges from The 1975 all the way up to post-hardcore acts like Letlive. and then back down to The Weeknd, it’s all packaged in a way that allows for a perfect an ebb and flow. It rises at just the right times and falls and softens when it’s best needed to, allowing each and every section to be toyed with for maximum effect.
The album opens with ‘Second Best‘, a desolate and self-affirming piece that helps to introduce the bands new and established sound – the rather cringy sounding “death-pop” – whilst building into some of the biggest tracks on the record such as ‘Jaded Ghost‘, ‘Carcinova‘ and ‘Medicine‘. The record then slowly descends with the ambient yet sonically commanding ‘Wake Up Sleeping‘, before falling into the quasi-acoustic ballad of ‘In Vein‘. Now, here’s where we hit ‘Lilac‘, a track which perfectly encapsulates the group’s message and sound upon ‘Sin Will Find You‘ in fine form.
‘Lilac’ begins in a quiet simmer with gentle and ambient synths that pulsate beneath the soft singing of William Jarratt before the song erupts into a huge and emotive soundscape that soars at skyscraper heights above and below you. All throughout, your heart strings are being torn apart as Jarratt details the struggles of wayward youth, lost in a drug filled culture that seduces anyone who dares near it in an escape from their own heartache. Whether you can relate on an identical level or you can hear just an inkling of truth in the emotions portrayed, it’s a message that I think many will find ourselves connecting with. ‘Lilac’ is the that will form a major part of this band’s legacy, and I don’t think they’d have it any other way.
‘Lilac‘ was a clear choice to be released at the forefront of this records promotion as it introduces the stronger pop influences I’ve discussed thus far. It serves as a good warm-up for other songs like ‘Disappointed‘ and ‘In Vein‘ that feel like they could sit on a The 1975 or Selena Gomez record and no one would bat an eye. Despite the pop aesthetic and construction to these songs, there’s a level of darkness and sombreness to it all that separates it from songs you’d actually hear on the radio. Whether it’s the droning, beautifully effected guitars or the heavy use of minor chords and sonically dolorous keys, you’re more likely to hear these tunes on the “weather” section of Welcome To Night Vale than you are on KIIS 101.1. These are pop songs that have fallen down the rabbit hole and haven’t the faintest intention of climbing back out.
Obviously, not everyone is going to enjoy this aspect of the album because it’s a genre they simply can’t get into – whether it’s out of sheer musicality or because they take a moral high ground on anything that’s on the radio and doesn’t have a live instrument. For those people, if you are one yourself, there are many moments that’ll try to captivate and win you over. One such moment is ‘Jaded Ghost‘. Not only does every second of this song have immense impact and presence, it utilises catchy screams and melodies in such a well-orchestrated way that there’s bound to be a lasting impact upon you, resonating with you long after the final note rings out. But if you’re hankering for something a lot more on the rock side of things, then the title track should do wonders for you with its eerie verses and monolithic choruses.
From a technical aspect, this record translates so well in whatever possible format you could potentially be listening to it through. I’ve spun this record through my studio quality headphones, car speakers, and in various earphones of varying degrees of shittiness and every time, I still loved the way this album sounds. On ten fucking dollar headphones, I could still feel the impact of that kick drum thundering away on ‘Jaded Ghost‘ and the filthy bass on ‘Burning‘ was still making my neck hairs stand on end. In the car that haunting chorus on ‘Medicine‘ kicked me right in the chest and through my studio headphones the whole album just sounds so well mixed and mastered, that every sound has its own space and limelight whilst all working towards the bigger picture.
Okay, so the word count is starting to reach critical mass. So I’ll finish off by touching on the albums emotion and honesty. Jarratt does a beautiful job of displaying the inner turmoil of a young person wandering through the dark garden that is Australia’s youth culture. It’s a culture built around the idea of escaping your problems rather than facing them head on, and in some ways, escaping yourself. Here, however, Jarratt holds up a mirror to this culture and himself, bringing to light his own experiences and his own pain on this journey of self-loss, confusion, and sorrow.
This is a fucking sad record. But ‘Sin Will Find You‘ is acutely aware there’s a paradise to be found outside the teenage wasteland of drugs, alcohol, and heartbreak. And Storm the Sky are set on finding it.
I spent a long time debating how to approach this review. What jokes I could make, what funny analogies and banter I could say to get my point across. But just before sitting down to pen these lines, I realized that this was not the time nor place. ‘Sin Will Find You’ is a harrowing and painfully honest record and the review for it should be nothing but. This is a record that’s been put together and thought about in such a meticulous way that not only does it sound incredible, it is incredible. It may not be for everyone, but there’s going to be something here for everyone to love. Massive kudos to the boys in Storm the Sky on creating what is not only a unique and diverse record but one that is also stunningly beautiful. Well fucking done.