Love makes the world go round… and spins records, too. The number one topic for songs since forever, the valentine sentiment has always inspired songwriters to write silly songs. But it is when Cupid throws a poison arrow at your heart that the songs become really interesting. And judging from Dommin‘s debut Love Is Gone, frontman and guitarist Kristofer Dommin must have been the recipient of quite a few arrows.
“Dommin is the sound of the broken-hearted,” he claims. As the main songwriter of the Los Angeles quartet, Kristofer Dommin employs the Hollywoodian technique of blowing sentiments to epic proportion to exorcise his amorous demons. No surprise then that he’s a fan of blockbuster film scores as he weaves his tales around a variety of moods centred around fractured relationships throughout these 15 tracks.
Love Is Gone, the singer’s favourite, opens with the first single My Heart, Your Hands, a rather upbeat Goth-goes-pop song which still retains principal hard rock elements, thereby inventing Love Metal. He wails, he complains, he is suffering and sipping a half-empty glass, yet he sounds strong.
He writes about personal experiences with the same intensity and passion with which he interprets them. His voice gives the songs another dimension; stentorian, yet full of pain. At times he channels a modern-day Frank Sinatra, crooning his heart out about poisonous love digging through his hurt aorta. Love is a noxious concept; indeed, I Still Lost is the realisation that no matter how hard you try, you’re still the loser in the relationship.
Influences from assorted epochs are peppered throughout. Tonight revisits new wave, while Dark Holiday is clearly the vibe of another tortured individual, Jim Morrison. Whilst channeling Depeche Mode, Danzig and even H.I.M., Dommin has a knack for poppy structures and haunting atmospherics, its bells and strings ringing darkness in the moody melodies, complementing the heavy guitars and eerie ’80s keyboards. The intricacy of the sounds, however, is sometimes too complex. Like love.
Hopelessly lovelorn, at times Dommin sounds like a male version of Evanescence‘s Amy Lee (see also that packshot typography). And that’s where the danger lies. While this is a strong debut and a good soundtrack for a Goth romance, Dommin will need to move on from being on the playlist of Twilight‘s Edward Cullen or Bella Swan to something that Edgar Allan Poe would listen to while writing The Raven – actually the concept that the band is trying to channel.