Durham's Veronique Diabolique claims it's from France, sings in French and dresses in fetish gear and makeup. Its members romanticize dark poets and the spooky side of '80s New Wave. If it all sounds so contrived, it is. After all, Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil has already spawned too many undergrad, black-clad bands around the world.
But Veronique Diabolique largely sidesteps the usual goth pitfalls on their second EP, the six-song Café Solitude. The band's musicianship—led by the searing guitar of Solange Diabolique—redeems Veronique Diabolique from the overwrought, melodramatic mush of its peers. On "Le Matin Crepusculaire" and "La Paresse," the two noisest tracks here, Solange drapes sheets of screeching feedback and effects over everything. In the latter song, the guitar acts as a beacon, unhinged from any sense of rhythm or song. Slow ballads will be the death of goth, but in songs like these, there's fire. Solange owes much of his guitar sound to Bauhaus' Daniel Ash's school of music, like many goth guitarists. But most people forget about Bauhaus' early, unfettered tribal punk or that Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's first London boutique was called Sex. These Durhamites didn't.
Veronique Diabolique plays the early show (7:30 p.m.) at The Cave Saturday, Oct. 13. Red Collar, The Pendletons and Fighting Poseidon take the late slot. For more gothic and industrial action on Saturday, the Eccentrik Festival with Meg Lee Chin, The Last Dance and Terrorcouple happens at Lincoln Theatre, starting at 6 p.m.