New Orleans-based darkwave trio Kindest Lines seem to have a sinister, masochistic love of the Cure’s Faith era that is tempered only by an earnest regard for the poppy instrumentation and song structures found on A Flock of Seagulls record. It may seem laughable to mention A Flock of Seagulls in the same sentence as the Cure, but Kindest Lines seem to understand that even the most highly-regarded pieces of New Wave music in the eighties were as intrinsically linked to their aesthetic as they were to their core subject matter: the airy, angular guitar progression on Flock’s “Modern Love Is Automatic”, the deep, rattling bass line of the Cure’s “Closedown”, and the tinny synth loop on Dead or Alive’s “Misty Circles” are – at least in my mind – superficially on the same plain of quality.
In that kind of aesthetic-oriented context, Kindest Lines’ debut full-length Covered in Dust is at worst an encouraging introduction and at best an impeccable throwback to the era of the beautiful macabre. The Disintegration-esque down-tempo pop of opener “Hazy Haze” sets the stage for an album of thick, prominent synthesizers, enveloping reverb, and memorable hooks. The remainder of the album seems to continually muse on that track’s core elements: lead single “Destructive Paths to Live Happily” throws the addictive drum track from Flock of Seagulls’ “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” together with sparkling, minimalistic guitar fragments and the soaring vocals of singer Brittany Terry, while the group rhythmically delves headlong into Pretty Hate Machine-influenced industrial territory on “Record Party” and “Colors Treasured”.
Influences abound on Covered in Dust, and most of the time they work in Kindest Lines’ favor. Regardless of whether the band is drawing distant inklings to goth sphere of New Wave or flat-out emulating it, they benefit from great production and the kind of melodies that stick themselves in your mind for days on end.