Music Reviews

Artist: Vogon Poetry (@)
Title: The Prefect Stories
Format: CD
Label: ScentAir Records (@)
Rated: *****
Seems as though there's been a lot of synthpop coming out of Sweden lately, and that is just where Vogon Poetry is from - Gothenburg to be exact. According to Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Vogon Poetry is the third worst in the galaxy. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex (UK), in the destruction of planet Earth, or so goes the HGG mythology. Fortunately, this band does not live up to its name; after all, it's just a name. Vogon Poetry consists of Roger Tell - music & lyrics; Daniel Onnerby - music & lyrics; and John Andersson - vocals. They've been together since 2012 with one prior album release - 'Don't Panic'. Although I've only heard a little bit of that one, 'The Prefect Stories' is darker, and maybe less overtly commercial. While I wouldn't call it all dark per se, it does have a melancholic tone, perhaps along the lines of Tears For Fears' 'The Hurting', although in mood only, no similarity in the music and vocals. When I first heard 'The Prefect Stories' my first impression was minimal synth done up in the style of Erasure, and like Andy Bell, John Andersson has a great voice. He is likely well known in Sweden where he is a veteran of both Swedish TV versions of 'The X Factor' and 'The Voice', and how many singers in synthpop bands can boast that kind of cred?

Things get off to a good start on the album with "Ready Player One", a percolating melodic number that's catchy enough to get your attention, although kind of low key. Lyrics are somewhat serious but not overly intellectual and Andersson's soulful delivery packs emotional power. This becomes much more evident on the next song, "Never Too Late". Third track is a cover of IAMX's "Spit It Out", a ballsy move covering a fairly big hit by another well known synthpop band. Musically, it's a different arrangement of the song, although the vocal sounds quite similar. There is no percussion until halfway though (just pulsing bass) and when it comes in, it's just kick drum and hat ticks, the minimum to keep the beat. Not bad; you'll still probably like the original better but a credible version nevertheless. "Possibilities" (Bistromax remix) is a far busier number, and here the band shows what it's really capable of- synthpop that has maturity and depth. "Moments" is a sweet tune with a lot of commercial potential. I'm hearing a bit of Split Enz in the vocals and the arpeggiated sythnwork is quite effective and bubbly.

"Hyperspace Bypass" is a cute, bouncy number reminiscent of early Depeche Mode. One of the lesser tracks compared with the whole, but still entertaining. Things turn darker with "The Great Big Nothing", chugging into the void like a lonely Major Tom. And darker still on "Afraid," with Pinhead's dialogue samples from 'Hellraiser:Bloodline'. It's upbeat in rhythm (a good track for the dancefloor) but the darkest track on the album. Might go down well in goth clubs. "Virtues" is rather reflective and gives you something to think about in the outro. Maybe there is no megahit on 'The Prefect Stories,' but there is a lot of potential, and for synthpop fans, quite an enjoyable listen. It could easily grow on you too. I sense that the best work of this band is yet to come, so you'd better keep an eye and an ear on them for Vogon Poetry could go galactic after all.

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