Vinyl Bin: Kingdom of Suicide Lovers

A magnificent seven Texas Platters

Texas Platters

Kingdom of Suicide Lovers

Distant Waves (Super Secret Records)

Applying dystopian narratives to an equally bleak post-punk pallet, Kingdom of Suicide Lovers crafted a riveting, tonally dark debut. Self-released by the local trio on CD last year (revisit "Texas Platters," Sept. 21), Distant Waves maintained enough presence to merit a new vinyl pressing on ATX imprint Super Secret Records, for which it was remastered in a single-barrel mono blast. Dual vocalists Paul Streckfus (formerly of Nineties art-punks Glorium) and Kelsey Wickliffe take turns trading monotonic verses and uniting for refrains with husband-and-wife synchronicity. Their wiper-blade vocal interplay recalls Exene Cervenka and John Doe of L.A. punks X, as well as – in style more than sound – Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto. Streckfus' grayscale guitar administers thick riffs and ominous voicings that strike, then draw back, making room for Wickliffe's agile bass lines that coalesce with her onetime Faceless Werewolves bandmate Baldomero Valdez's precision pounding. Fear stricken from the start, "Red Tent" portrays an unknown force stalking the confused, marooned protagonist. Soon, in "Capsules," he must flee the planet for the safety of idling in orbit. A relative moment of peace comes with the organ-driven, damaged love song "This Isn't Easy to Say" that hints at the band's name. Additionally, both the title track and "System vs. Factory" pay homage to the bizarre, futuristic works of author Haruki Murakami. For lyrically focused listeners, Distant Waves never lets up, offering subject matter that demands your attention start to finish. For the rare fan of both post-punk and postmodern sci-fi, this album was made for you.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Kingdom of Suicide Lovers
Texas Platters
Kingdom of Suicide Lovers
Distant Waves (Record Review)

Greg Beets, Sept. 21, 2012

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Kevin Curtin
Watch This: A Tribute to Denny Freeman in His Own Words
Watch This: A Tribute to Denny Freeman in His Own Words
A sweet pocket-doc to celebrate the late guitarist’s birthday

Aug. 8, 2022

Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Kate Bush Bash, Urban Heat, Knife in the Water, Night Cap, Adrian Ruiz, and Shimmer Island

July 29, 2022


Kingdom of Suicide Lovers

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle