Beauty in Chaos – to all intents and purposes, the solo vehicle of Michael Ciravolo, albeit augmented by wife Tish – have done a pretty admirable job of roping in an impressive array of veterans from across the board of 70s to 90s rock and beyond for their debut album, with lead single ‘Man of Faith’ featuring The Mission’s Wayne Hussey and Simon Gallup of Cure legend really selling the flavours of 90s goth. Elsewhere, we find contributions from members of Cheap Trick, Ministry, The Offspring, Ice T, amongst others.
That full roll-call: Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Simon Gallup (The Cure), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Pete Parada (The Offspring), dUg Pinnick (Kings X), ICET (Body Count), Michael Aston (Gene Loves Jezebel), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Dirk Doucette (Gene Loves Jezebel), Ashton Nyte (The Awakening), Pando (A Flock of Seagulls), Evi Vine (Evi Vine), Betsy Martin (Caterwaul / Purr Machine), Marc Danzeisen (The Riverdogs), Kevin Kipnis (Purr Machine / Kommunity FK), Rudy Matchinga (Red Scare), Johnny Indovina (Human Drama), and Tish Ciravolo (Stun Gun).
But what of the actual contents? Well, it very much has that mid-80s post-punk flavour, with echo-heavy guitars chiming and interweaving across strolling basslines spinning lines of domed romanticism and dark atmospherics.
The influences and inspirations are never far from visible: ‘Storm’ does kinda lift The Cult’s ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ for its verse part, before bursting into a starburst finish chorus that drives forwards. Because Hussey’s vocals – and lyrical style – are so distinctive – to the extent that he essentially has come to define The Mission, ‘Man of Faith’ sounds like The Mission, and it’s as simple as that. Latter-day Mission of course, but better that than ‘Masque’-era Mission. And so, the same is more or less true of the other Hussey-featuring song, the brooding ‘The Long Goodbye’ which cuts to a solid chorus from a spindly, reflective verse.
Certainly, Hussey gives more than Al Jourgensen, whose distorted, repeat-heavy vocal delivery on their cover of T-Rex’s ‘20th Century Boy’ could be the work of any post-millennium industrial act. Ministry and RevCo have produced some outstanding covers over the last 20 years: this isn’t one of them.
‘Look Up’, which features Tish Ciravolo, is a simmering, breathy shoegaze cut with some hefty guitars, a driving rhythm section and a woozy, warping stutters twisting time spun into its structure.
Eclecticism is the key to ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’ – but that isn’t to say it lacks cohesion: it just feels more like a well-considered mix-tape than an album.