Goth, like ‘emo’, is a label assigned mostly to acts who reject it.
So when a band wear their gothic colours (or lack thereof) as proudly as Death Valley High, the suspicion is that their tongues must be planted firmly in their deathly pale cheeks. Combined with self-consciously ‘goffick’ songtitles – Warm Bodies, Play Dead – it’s a recipe for pastiche. Cvlt (As Fvck) aims for ‘industrial dance party’ but lands just short of Poundland Marilyn Manson, and for all of its squelching synths and crunching, compressed drums, Ick Switch is just The Beautiful People-lite. The second half of the record has some interesting ideas – 1213 is 90 seconds of driving, writhing fun – but it’s spoiled by playground lyrics (Tiptoe’s ‘Just the tip’ and most of Psalm Bitch), and the fact that the album ends on There Was An Old Lady – a distorted reimagining of the nursery rhyme with which it shares its name, and nothing more – suggests that Death Valley High are just taking the piss.