SGNLS – “SGNLS” (2013)

Early this year I stumbled across the band SGNLS on a comp tape by the Suicide Bong label called Philly’s Dopest Shit, Vol. 1.  They were one of the better groups on the cassette, so I ordered a copy of their 2014 LP II from the label and really dug it.  I even exchanged emails with Tony from the band, and he told me that unfortunately their eponymous 2013 debut was sold out, which was too bad since I wanted to hear some of their earlier stuff.  Fortunately we have this thing now called the internet, and this website called eBay, and in less than a week I had a copy of SGNLS waiting for me in my mailbox. From there it promptly went onto my “unplayed” shelf where it remained for way too long, competing for turntable time with all kinds of other new toys that came into the house.  Today it was time to rectify that situation.

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SNGLS has a less heavy vibe than the subsequently recorded and released II.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have an edge, though.  While II seemed to add elements of metal to the overall darkwavey sound, SGNLS feels a bit more stripped down and punk rock.  Yes, the synths that define the band’s sound are still here, and they still rock out with them.  And there’s still that undercurrent of darkness (the first line sung on the album is “God is dead” on the song “Double Edged Sword”).  But man, if “Backlash” doesn’t remind you of a raw new wave version of the Dead Kennedys, I’ll refund the price you paid to subscribe to this blog (which is free, BTW).

I couldn’t escape the feeling that SGNLS was some sort of a concept album, though I have no reason to think that is the case.  The eight songs fit together well, and the instrumental tracks contributed to it feeling more like a  soundtrack than just an album.  I can’t explain it – it just has a certainly level of integration that made me feel like the album as a whole was greater than the sum of its eight songs.  But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it – you can listen to the entire thing for free, as well as all of II, right HERE, so decide for yourself.

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