Marketing themselves as Alaska’s only goth band, Cliff and Ivy are formed around husband and wife team Cliff Monk and Ivy Silence. Whilst it’s hard to deny their claim for local honours, ‘Springtime OF Pure Reason’ is certainly a pleasingly ambitious record which encompasses a breadth of genres.
‘Get Up’ ensures the EP sets off to a fun, punky start where chanted vocals mix with swirling keyboards and wild guitar shapes. The staccato vocals and playful arrangement prove that comparisons with Devo are entirely justified. The next track is the same song but in “explicit” form so we can only assume the first version is for a family goth audience. After this punchy beginning, the group are in a sombre and more reflective mode for ‘Lost Your Soul’. Revolving around a simple descending (yet highly addictive) keyboard hook, the song immediately grabs your attention, whilst the doomy chorus is reminiscent of Sister Of Mercy. ‘Superclass’ somehow balances an incongruous mix of 60’s girl pop vocals and heavy metal with dignity intact. Then, for the final two tracks ‘Transplant’ and ‘Radiant’, metal plays a prominent role again but this time alongside dark poetry, with Ivy Silence performing a fine Siouxsie Sioux impersonation for the latter.
So, in truth, the goth label only tells a small part of the Cliff And Ivy story. The group covers an impressive array of musical bases and moods amongst these five songs, which should cement their position as the best goth/punk/spoken word/metal hybrid in Alaska.
Siouxsie And The Banshees, Sisters Of Mercy, Devo