Sunday, 23rd September 2018. 6:04:20pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Black Tie Dynasty- This Stays Between Us
Artist: Black Tie Dynasty
CD Title: This Stays Between Us
Label: Idol Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 8/4/05

Led by charismatic frontman Cory Watson, Black Tie Dynasty bring a big slice of powerful, ultra-melodic alt rock to the table on This Stays Between Us. At once recalling The Bends-era Radiohead, James, and The Cure with hints of Joy Division and New Order thrown in for good measure, the band's sound blends modern rock with new wave and post-punk influences for a concoction that is part moody nostalgia, part uplifting rock. Driven by bass and filled out by shimmering chorus/delay-affected guitar and synth work that ranges from mere synth string accompaniments to subtle, beautiful piano melodies, Black Tie Dynasty's theatrical highs and lows are highlighted by a sound that's spatially huge and dense yet full of subtlety.

The plodding pop of "Crime Scene" opens the set, showcasing the band's knack for brilliantly simplistic and strikingly effective intertwining guitar and synth melodies and progressions before changing tempo for a powerful finale jam. "Die" is certainly a standout here, a bass-driven number with spectacular pop hooks and a soaring chorus, while "Ghost of a Secretary" starts out slower, a bass anchor and slightly distorted keyboard skeleton accented by shimmering lead guitar, before exploding into a cathartic rock frenzy.

From here, the tracklisting on the back of the CD goes a bit askew, reversing "Souls at Zero" and "Southern Girls" (written here in their proper order). The former is a relatively upbeat number, its melodic verse giving way to the full, crunchy distorted guitar of its chorus, while the latter is a simply lovely slice of pop melancholia, echoing piano and particularly poignant guitar work atop a punchy bassline. "On Your Last Night in Town" is an excellent closer, a moody 2-and-a-half-minute pop song expanded to nearly six minutes with a spine-tingling, explosive instrumental finale.

From start to finish, This Stays Between Us is simply spectacular, a dynamic set of alt rock that's both starkly beautiful and full of energy. It's also exceptionally consistent from both a sonic and songwriting standpoint, so much so that between that fact and each song's own theatrical changes, it's sometimes easy to miss the point where one song ends and the next begins if you're not paying attention. Whether you're a fan of their 80s post-punk/new wave influences or the comparable modern bands that share them (Interpol, for instance), Black Tie Dynasty's This Stays Between Us is highly recommended.

 

Black Tie Dynasty website: www.blacktiedynasty.com

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