A momentous victory of post-punk delivery, Gdansk81 returns with their new EP, Walking Besides Our Dead Selves. The Manchester/Liverpool outfit presents four new tracks that delve into the many stylings and genre possibilities that the late 70s and 80s produced.

Whilst post-punk is quite the prevalent genre right now where it feels like there’s a new artist every week. Artists such as Squid, Fontaines D.C. and BCNR continue to explore and evolve their sound in new directions. Gdansk81 does so much more and goes to the source of where post-punk became popular and progresses from there.

The six-piece has plenty of opportunity to do exciting things with their music and experiment; they certainly do that on this EP. To define the band would be putting your hand in a bag of nu-wave 80s music and pulling out artists such as Joy Division, The B-52’s and Echo & The Bunnymen where moody goth rock meets upbeat indie pop.

The opening track and lead single from the EP, Molecules has haunting goth rock elements from the roaring guitar tones to the thundering bass and ghastly keys. It’s heavily melodic as deep lead vocals blend into the music with female backing vocals merging with the keys. It’s a real sonic boom of a track with Joy Division vocals merging with Interpol beats. The drums are optimistic and gallop behind the leading melodies.

The transition to the chorus is as if someone has yanked back the aura of the track, but lets the vocals become more central. The guitars and bass layer over each other in the bridge with the drums adding a dance element to the track. The band still has more surprises as the track morphs into lo-fi spoken vocals and raw lead additions. Molecules is a track that never wants to stop as the guitars play their consistent rhythms, the vocals repeat and the synths raise the mood of the track. However, it flitters out into a burst of guitar static and things take a slower turn.

A bass intro and goth rock synths open the listener into Glass Key. There are steadier rhythms and more stripped-back vocals of a higher register. The bass is the leading instrument throughout a lot of this piece as for the first two minutes the mood is quite similar throughout. The guitars ring out notes in the background with steady melodic drums. The bass plays around sliding around the neck and the synths once more give a ghastly feeling to Gdansk81. They know how to paint a moody and grey picture.

Glass Key also feels like a song that doesn’t want to end but in a different respect to Molecules. Whilst the opening track is boisterous and energetic, Glass Key is somber and drones on. Both tracks so far pull at different elements of post-punk music from the late 70s. The following single Susan George picks things up a bit.

The ceremonial drumming and thumping bass already set the dark mood whilst sustained guitar notes bleed through. This is where a lot of the Joy Division influence comes through. However, imagine Joy Division with a bigger production and a filled-out sound thanks to the additional instruments. Female lead vocals and the increase in tempo blur into the nu-wave genre. The chorus is a high-paced floor filler that bursts into explosive instrumentations before imploding on itself.

The closing track IV Thing is heavy on the nu-wave. It sounds like a neo-Tokyo Japanese game. Computerised keys with sharp female vocals and dancing guitars reminisce The B-52’s. It allows Gdansk81 to play around and be a bit silly with their music but maintains some of their high energy seen in Molecules and Susan George. The repeated “who put the bomb bomb on the atom bomb” is addictive and before all is said and done the band leaves off with a burst of sound.

To sumarise Walking Beside Our Dead Selves you are given both a treat and a history lesson on some fantastic 80s music. Gdansk81 doesn’t just wear their influences on their sleeves, they look forward and think what’s next? It’s like a rebirth of nu-wave with clean production and more raucous guitar playing. It captures northern elements of punk music, blurs the lines between genres and treats you to a variety of tempos.

Gdansk81 has a superb EP on their hands.




By mykct