By: Will Pinfold
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Dperd’s Carlo Disimone once stated that the (by his own admission pointlessly complicated) label ‘pop-melancholic-crepuscular rock’ would be far more fitting for the duo’s music than ‘darkwave’, the pigeonhole to which they are most frequently consigned. And he isn’t wrong, the pervading warmth and longing that has characterised Dperd’s music since 3Non is far more organic and less glacial than classic synth-led darkwave.
The band’s last album, Kore (2013) had a more guitar-based, almost alt-rock sound than their earlier works, and V is mostly in the same vein and is mostly even less withdrawn and more accessible. This expansive sound takes centre stage in the opening track, ‘Frenetika’, which sounds – aside from Valeria’s vocals – very like The Cure circa Wish; big, almost stadium-friendly, although never crassly so and romantically, rather than morbidly gloomy.
In fact, that peerless late 80s/early 90s (Disintegration / Wish) period of The Cure is a pretty good reference point for the album as a whole. Although guitar-led, the tunes are constructed from wandering melody lines and arpeggiated jangling, only resorting to strummed chords at moments of maximum drama. In addition, both the technical aspects (a purring, textured bass sound that is pure Simon Gallup and that delicate, wistful synth tone from ‘Love Song’) and the pervasive elegiac mood are strongly Cure-like throughout.
If that’s all it was, V would still be very likeable (to Cure fans at least, although ‘The Way Down Song’ is more Curve-goes-baggy than Cure-like and has a bass/drum rhythm that will irresistibly remind listeners of a certain age of The Charlatans’ ‘Then’), but thankfully Dperd‘s own, very different forlorn character is strong enough to stamp itself strongly on the album. A large part of this is due to Valeria’s powerful and often beautiful voice, which is expressive rather than fragile, even in its quieter moments and, as always seems filled with mysterious and imploring regret and longing. Mysterious, that is to non-Italian speakers; but after listening to Dperd without understanding the lyrics it would be almost a shame to know what is being said.
Sadness and loss are universal after all, and V takes those feelings and transforms them into very nice tunes. Probably not indispensible, but a very accomplished piece of work and probably their best to date.