Album Review: Rosetta Stone – “Seems Like Forever”
They could have been the new Mission! Well, possibly. Liverpool’s Rosetta Stone were the great white hopes (or should that be great black hopes?) of the British goth scene in the early ’90s. With the Sisters of Mercy sliding into inactivity due to record company issues, the Cult long since gone to America to pursue an out-and-out rock direction and the Mish starting to succumb to infighting around the time of the poorly received Masque album, the goths in the UK music press were looking for new heroes and on the back of Rosetta Stone’s first few singles and a competent first album in the Sisters/Mission vein (An Eye For The Main Chance), they looked like they could be contenders. Unfortunately the advent of the industrial strain of goth led up by Nine Inch Nails and Ministry saw them change direction to a more Reznor/Jourgensen style sound on their second effort a couple of years later, which alienated most of their fanbase and proved to be the beginning of the end for them.
With ’80s goth music enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years though, frontman Porl King has resurrected the Rosetta Stone name as a solo project and Seems Like Forever represents their first album since the late ’90s. It certainly has all the trademarks you’d expect – doomy vocals, icy guitar lines and a Doktor Avalanche style drum machine backing. The lyrics are suitably dark as well with the likes of Escape, When You Turn Away and album highlight Making A Bomb looking despondently at the state of the world today and, goth or not, I think we can all relate to that. The sinister soaring guitar lines on Downplay and the cinematic soundscape of What Is The Point meanwhile show that King is still a dab hand when it comes to instrumentation as well.
The main problem with Seems Like Forever is that Rosetta Stone don’t really deviate from the above template very much and it leads to the album being a bit samey in places. If you were going to be cruel about this, you could say that you might as well listen to the Sisters’ First, Last And Always which is basically the same album but with better tunes, but that’s being harsh on Rosetta Stone as there are enough decent hooks on here to make it worth a listen for any curious goths looking for some new music at the moment.
"Seems Like Forever" is good for what it is (ie a Sisters indebted goth album) and there's enough good songs on here to make it worth investigating. The only problem is that it gets a bit repetitive with the songs not really deviating much from the doomy vocals/chiming guitars/drum machine template. Decent enough but it could have been better.