Released Friday 3 February 2023.
For fans of: Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, The Cult, Echo and the Bunnymen
In 2017, Seattle-based artist STAHV (Solomon Arye Rosenschein) emerged as a shape-shifting one-person instrumental act. KEXP FM radio described STAHV as combining “elements of heavy psych-rock, doom metal, post-rock, noise-rock, and more.” That sound continues to evolve with Simple Mercies (2023), a collection of vocal-driven goth rock tracks drawing on Rosenschein’s love of ’80s aesthetics, synth-pop, and new wave.
And what a beautiful album! Take the best parts of Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, mix them in a metamodernist world and out comes STAHV’s latest album, Simple Mercies (2023).
“The emotional core of these songs is unlike anything else I’ve ever done,” Rosenschein explains. “They deal with mortality, isolation, and other existential issues. It’s music that needs the human voice to connect.”
Simple Mercies finds STAHV at its most urgent—with guitar and baritone vocal hooks galore plus a new rhythmic thrust. Channelling the gritty melodrama of Fields of the Nephilim, reverb-soaked churn of M83, and epic scope of Echo and the Bunnymen, songs like “Cold Case” (track 1) and “Snake Key” (track 5) twist and turn, combining focused arrangements with lush soundscapes.
I love albums like this that give me no clues from the cover or the album title as to what I am about to experience and then they blow me away with their brilliance.
I found the first four tracks of this six track album to be the most immediate, poppy, accessible and attention-grabbing, the final couple of tracks taking a slower, more doomgaze path. But woah! What an album. Love it!
Review score: 90%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview STAHV’s forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or STAHV. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to STAHV for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.