“The perfect soundtrack for the melancholy set clad in black, leather, and lace.”
Following the release of the dreamy and bewitching darkwave debut single “Mirror Twin”, Harsh Symmetry announces the release of a full-length debut Display Model on Fabrika Records, home of Selofan, Lebanon Hanover, and She Past Away, whose own Doruk Öztürkcan mixed and mastered the LP.
With a vocal style reminiscent of Cocteau Twins collaborator Cinder (This Mortal Coil, Cindytalk), and Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen, Harsh Symmetry’s Julian Sharwarko is the epitome of old-school and post-punk and goth, capturing a vision that perfectly matches his sound, while physically resembling his music forebears to the point where he looks like he just stepped out of a copy of Smash Hits circa 1983.
Hailing from Sacramento, California, Sharwarko’s love of music began at the tender age of 8, with parents who influenced his early music tastes by playing the music of Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Birthday Party, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, and Bauhaus. David Lynch’s work also made a profound impact on his style, specifically the short film The Grandmother.
“It’s lost to time, and you’ll recite those words before they’re mine”.
Sharwarko’s debut single “Mirror Twin” is pure unabashed old-school post-punk and darkwave, reflecting the work of early 4AD artists, along with the post-Southern death cult band, Getting The Fear, and Nebraska dream-pop outfit, For Against.
Another standout song on the album is, “Skin”, a tactile maelstrom of shivering sensuality, capturing the seductive aural pleasures of Boy Harsher and Depeche Mode while being wrapped in a veil of icy synths and darkwave reminiscent of The Frozen Autumn.
The dream spirals onward with the array of songs that continue this mesmerizing melange of melody and passion, such as the Cure-like track “Severance”, the Xymox-sounding “Pugilist”, and danceable album closer “Nowhere”.
Display Model as a whole is a vulnerable work earnest in tearing down the ornate walls we decorate with personas constructed with consumerism and social media.
“The title conjures ideas of exploitation,” Sharwarko explains. “…Advertisements and walking into stores seeing things on display, so they can catch your eye and eventually take your money, and people being treated like the means to a similar end. A lot of my ideas come out of questioning the role that artists play in our particular society: the difficulties of communicating, loneliness, ego.”
In creating these sonic atmospheres that permeate the eight songs collected on Display Model, Sharwarko juxtaposes fervent melancholia with pop hooks, navigating the past and present with sorrowful feelings of nostalgia during the songwriting process, yet while recording the album at home, songs were often developed spur of the moment, embracing the beauty of constraints and imperfection that invoke the warm character of tracks recorded via analog tape during the 80s.
Using a select set of patches, instruments, and samples throughout the record, Shawarko kept a degree of consistency during the recording process without being overly methodical. We mostly hear a Roland JU-06A module throughout the album. Drums were mostly the Roland 707 with the occasional 808, Drumulator or Oberheim DX sample. Guitars were all Jazzmaster through a Logic amp simulator.
After the whirlwind experience of making his live debut supporting acts Mareux and Provoker, Schwarko plans to hit the road as Harsh Symmetry before the end of the year to promote the album.