Initially formed in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of their debut EP, 2015’S Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. The following year, the band won one of their homeland’s most prestigious music competitions Humo’s Rock Rally, which they followed up with two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and 2017’s “White Noise.”
Building upon a growing profile across Belgium, the Brussels-based post-punk quintet released their full-length debut, the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced Image through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world last year. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, the album finds the band attempting to capture their live sound — and the sense of anxiety and alienation that each individual bandmember felt when they relocated to Brussels.
Now, as you may recall album single “Alone” was centered around shimmering and angular guitar lines, a propulsive and sinuous bass line, thunderous and mathematically precise drumming, an area rock-friendly hook derived from a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season and Kuppens’ Ian Curtis-like vocal delivery. Much like its predecessors, the album’s latest single “Hollow” further cements the Belgian band’s reputation for crafting an ominous post-punk sound reminiscent of Joy Division, Actors, Deathlist, True Moon, and Second Still among others — but while evoking the overwhelming sense of dread, anxiousness, isolation and outrage of our current sociopolitical moment, in which we (as a collective whole) seem to be marching lockstep towards oblivion.
Directed by Pieter De Ridder, the incredibly cinematic and downright creepy visuals for “Hollow” further emphasize the end-of-days vibes of the song it accompanies. There’s no murderous cyborgs or aliens sent from the far reaches of space and time to exterminate humanity; there’s no Revelations-like four horsemen riding through towns with demonic glee; nor are there godly folk being immediate raptured to heaven; instead the doom the video focuses on, is as the old poem suggests — that the world will end not with a bang but with a whimper. In fact, the video follows a collection of young people, including the members of the band gathering at a proverbial “tree of life.” Every single person the band and the viewer encounters is looking up at the sky in a trancelike gaze. Whatever is coming from above, no one seems frightened or overly concerned; it’ll be as it’ll always be. It’ll leave a lingering chill down your spine.