Music Reviews



TRISTRAUM: Shiver

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 28 2004
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Artist: TRISTRAUM (@)
Title: Shiver
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Intrapop
Rated: *****

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Tristraum is a band formed by two guys (Randall Erkelens and Pierre Norman) deeply involved into the nightclub scene and really active into the remixing activity and by Krystina Eller on vocals. The CD I received is their first effort and present three original tracks ("Shiver", the instrumental "Brilliant" and the melancholic "I'm Under No One") plus nine remixes of the main track. The sound of the band find its roots into the alternative / synthpop / industrial music. The tracks are danceable, bleepy with dreamy almost whispered female vocal parts (the ones I don't appreciate as they tend to make the songs sound all the same). The remixes reflect the characteristics of the remixers and for this reason we can find e.b.m. versions of the track thanks to Assemblage 23 and Lime'n Dale, modern synthpop versions remixed by Echo Image, Empire State Human and Equatronic, almost tehcno tunes produced by Infam, Invisible Asps, Saxxonpike. I think this release could be appreciated by remixes addicted who also love female goth vocals and industrial pop tunes.

MOON ROCK: Charming Gravity

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 25 2004
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Artist: MOON ROCK (@)
Title: Charming Gravity
Format: CD
Label: Lunar Entertainment
Rated: *****
CHARMING GRAVITY is the third Moon Rock album and someway we can say that this is the album of their maturity. "Power To People" was their fresh debut, while on "Eclipse of the Mood" and this new one the band is defining their songwriting. The album is divided between dreamy ballads sung mainly by Jemma and catchy synthpop/electro tunes sung by Jack. Their pop music has always got a touch of melancholy but they also know how to add a certain dark vein to their sounds like on "Brother, Sister, Lover" or on "Charming Gravity", where the filtered vocals duet with the bells and the strings while they paint a dark atmosphere for the following lyrics (this is an excerpt): "Dancing past your demons, screaming, Straight into the heart of what I own This won’t ever happen again". Their pop isn't poppish, if you know what I mean. Melody isn't symptom of stupidity and this album is the evidence of the fact that there could be an intelligent way to do music. Sometimes I hear echoes of the latest Everything But The Girl (like on "Goodbye, I Love You" or on "Brother, Sister, Lover") but this time if we say synthpop we don't think immediately to Pet Shop Boys or Depeche Mode and this is good for a band. "Everyday Superstar - Glis Mix" and "I Think It's Over - Jemma Mix" were already included into their MCD released a couple of months before the album (it included also other two band mixes of the main title) and they anticipated the sound of the album, giving to the audience a juicy apple to bite. Of the ten songs I prefer the less melancholy ones, but in this case we can say that there are only a couple of them and when you'll arrive to "Angel In You" you'll question yourself if you put into your CD deck a T.O.Y. album. Anyway, CHARMING GRAVITY is a good album and you should give it a try.

XIU XIU : Fabulous muscles

 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 24 2004
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Artist: XIU XIU
Title: Fabulous muscles
Format: CD
Label: Tomlab (@)
Rated: *****
It's bizarre to put Xiu Xiu in the "synth-pop" category, for lack of better definitions, and realizing that it'd be hard anyway to try and stick them somewhere. There's actually quite a lot of electro-pop here ("Crank Heart", "Brian the Vampire", "Bunny Gamer"), but in a Xiu Xiu way, just like every possible influence they may draw upon: (no/new) wave, acoustic folk (the title track, "Nieces Pieces (Boat knife version)"), art-pop ("I luv the Valley OH!", "Clowne towne"), electroacoustic improv ("Support our troops OH! (Black Angels)"). It's not an easy record, but at the same time it has an impressive number of perfect pop songs and melodies. Almost every songs is memorable in itself, and arrangements are bizarre, complex and minimal at the same time: a sort of art-punk version of Antony and the Johnsons. I've also seen them in a superb live set as a duo, with just guitar, harmonium, synth, percussions and some pre-recorded beat, and Jamie Stewart is just an incredible performer, even in a more intimistic context. But what makes Xiu Xiu a world apart is probably their poetics, something sadly lacking in most indie bands. Their lyrics and imagery deal with abusive power/sexual relationships, fucked up personal (and political) situations, depression and dissatisfaction, but more often than not in an ambiguous, challenging way. Abusive, or horny photos are packed in a glossy pink layout, just as shockingly intense lyrics are sugar-coated into pop singalongs and la-la-la's.

Deadbabes: The Drug EP

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 19 2004
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Artist: Deadbabes (@)
Title: The Drug EP
Format: CD EP
Label: Futurecords (@)
Rated: *****
Deadbabes are a new dark-pop band from Finland formed by a group of five seasoned and experienced young musicians who did pour their knowledge into the creation of "The Drug EP", a CD that showcases a remarkable artistic maturity and an unmistakable The Cure inspiration. The noir approach to beautiful and mellow pop melodies is complemented by a beefy rhythmical structure and an exquisite taste for selection of sounds and balance. It sounds (and seems) like these guys have all the right numbers. Their debut album, due early September, will be produced and mixed by French Kris Kylven (of Killing Joke fame, but also remixer for Manson, Siouxsie etc). If anything else fails, at least they will be remembered for being the first band that gets their very own postal stamp (which of course they used to postmark their promo package).

Minerve: Breathing Avenue

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 18 2004
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Artist: Minerve (@)
Title: Breathing Avenue
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Rated: *****
Minerve's debut album "Breathing Avenue" was just released a few days ago. The band is formed by Paradise of Fear's vocalist and a keyboard player and focuses on bringing together chart-topping synth-pop music and more researched and experimental music. Altough I wouldn't say that this was born to be easy listening crap, I do fail to see the latter of the two declared elements that supposingly would be making up this blend. What I sea, or rather hear, I should say, is a good synthpop album that draws from the best history of the genre and succeeds in combining the older style with a newer sound palette. Beautiful artword and nice record.


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