Hold the tidings, reconnoiterers. This is a new set of songs from Stephen Cogle of Vacuum, The Victor Dimisich Band and The Terminals. Dark Matter stands with contemporaries The Renderers and The Puddle in exemplifying a “late” style of New Zealand post-punk—more concrete, more distilled.
Cogle’s vocal flourish stills reminds one of Roxy Music—a band that, recall, is only ten years older than Cogle’s earliest projects. The continued relevance of an ensemble like Dark Matter over Roxy Music can only be attributed to the richness of the musical moment that birthed it. Trusted names like Cogle, John Christoffels, John Billows, Joanne Billesdon, Nicole Moffat and Michael Daly continue into the 21st century in new combinations with new aspects to notice. But more than just an update on the Christchurch Sound, Dark Matter plays with punk nostalgia to craft an overwhelmingly romantic (with a lowercase r) pop record.
Too cat-like to be reflective, totally immersed in the garage rock impetus, their flat, gothic psychedelia is equal parts Chills, Television Personalities and Scientists, with the intimacy of Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos or Small World Experience. With a breadth of material fitting to the subject of “getting older,” Dark Matter is perhaps the most finessed document of Cogle’s vision yet.