Music Reviews


 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 19 2011
Title: Brand New Day
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Mullet Records (@)
Distributor: Juno Download
Rated: *****
BRAND NEW DAY is the newest single by Satin Jackets. Released by Mullet Records, this digital release is one of the most house/soul sounding singles of the label and if I had to hazard an influence I'd try with a mix of Jamiroquai and Sade (thanks to the Linda Mathews vocals). Satin Jackets mix sensual 80s soul atmospheres with 4/4 pumping rhythm lines, a funky guitar and cool synth fat bass lines (here you can find along with the original version also the instrumental one). For my tastes this song is a bit too soul sounding and also Dato and Sare Havlicek remixes are based on similar sounds with rarefied atmospheres in the first case and funky guitar and slapped bass lines in the second one.

DANIELE SCARDANELLI : il buon senso spiegato al mio cane

 Posted by Andrea Ferraris (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 19 2011
Title: il buon senso spiegato al mio cane
Format: CD
Label: Snowdonia (@)
Rated: *****
Another pop recordings on Snowdonia, this label started as a weird mix of pop attitude vs experimental itch and they gradually evolved from the concept even if basically the trajectory they're following is almost the same. An overall good release, honest in its simplicity, sometimes funny and quite ironical that here and there reminded me of Vinicio Capossela and some other funny italian singers. Daniele Scardanelli knows both how to write a song and how to sing, the result is easy to be listened and enjoyable, very well arranged and the recording is ok, sometimes the music is a bit too similar to those who inspired the author, but I repeat the result is quite honest be for that weird "out of tune" sensation there's all around. Some influences from the past have been incorporated in what sometimes sounds as a drunk/stoned vinyl going at the wrong speed and you will agree that's a result itself. I think this guy writing skill is good and he's some interesting qualities, everything has to be focused a little bit but the essence of the work is good. This probably one of those record I will suggest to somebody without humor, but as I've already said, humor has a big part in the history of this sicilian label.

RISK RISK: This is 1983

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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May 18 2011
Artist: RISK RISK (@)
Title: This is 1983
Format: 12"
Label: Astro Chicken (@)
Rated: *****
Since the first release, the compilation "Chicken Accelerator", Astro Chicken showed its full potential as label and after a great Hyboid release now we have the opportunity to check a real 80s influenced gem. I dunno who's behind the Risk Risk monicker and their website doesn't help much in this direction but what I know for sure is that their first album THIS IS 1983 is a blast. Mixing cold wave a la John Foxx (check the first part of "Digital love"), synthpop a la The Twins (check "Adventures in modern lifestyle"), a bit of Italo disco and some early Human League influences, Risk Risk amazed me with the freshness of ten songs that are able to pack catchy melodies and vocals and analogue synth sounds. I like a lot to listen to a successful blend of cold atmospheres, warm sound of analog oscillators and upbeat rhythms and this album is full of all these "delicatessen". If you think about 80s as the years of bubble pop synth pop, well thanks to Risk Risk you'll have to think twice, because this album will make you clean the dust from your classic Ray-Ban sunglasses (a Carrera is on the cover of this album), wear your old creeper shoes, mount an uv black light bulb in the upper right corner of your room and dance in the dark. You can check all the tracks at the label's website. P.s. if you don't have a turntable, you can purchase the digital edition of the album.

PFQ: Future Songs

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 17 2011
Artist: PFQ
Title: Future Songs
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ninthwave Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Dublin, Paul Quinn was in the early 90's the lead singer and songwriter of Irish synth-pop duo Biazarre. They did a double A side single 'A Better Place/The Colour Of Rain' which was a hit but they disbanded because in the days of Britpop was difficult to play only pop music that wasn't referring to Oasis or Blur. Paul studied acting, appearing in a series of best forgotten plays and theatre revues. Now he felt it was the right time to come back and prepared six new tracks helped by Gavin Murphy (musical director of 'Hallelujuah Broadway', composer Mind The Gap films) who co-produced it , Ciaran Byrne (engineer with U2, Cranberries, Chieftans, Sinead O'Connor) who mixed it, Bill Shanley (guitarist for Ray Davies and Mary Black) and Cormac Moore (bass player for The Camembert Quartet). FUTURE SONGS brings to the attention of pop music lovers four tracks of finest dance dreamy synthpop where Paul's voice make the difference. Behind the upbeat rhythms of "Like a laserbeam" or the epic melancholy of "Reach out to me" and the everyday drama of "Seventeen", Paul sings of the pains of growing up and loss, the conflicts and joys of family relationships and the discivery of the all-too-human failings of one's adolescent idols. He does it with passion and charm with the knowledge of a man who lived all these feelings. The two remaining songs a bit a different because "The girl I never knew" is a piano, strings, vocal tormented ballad and "Closer to God" a semi r'n'r song with soul influences. Try to imagine a mix of Billy Mackenzie and Bronski Beat and you'll have FUTURE SONGS, a nice new Ninthwave Records release.

no:carrier: Between The Chairs

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 16 2011
Artist: no:carrier (@)
Title: Between The Chairs
Format: CD
Label: Electric Heresy (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
This German synth-pop band has a history that goes back to 1995, including a full CD release in 2002 on the old Electric Heresy German label before it went bust in 2003. The no:carrier of today features Cynthia Wechselberger on vocals and Christian Wirsig on vocals and everything else, which means synths, keyboards, rhythm programming, etc. Wirsig revived the Electric Heresy label, presumably for this release, but there are a few other artists on the label as well.

The brand of synth pop no:carrier engages in isn't the bouncy, club-oriented kind; it is more of the melancholy variety like Chandeen, Machine in the Garden, Mirabilis, Bel Canto, Claire Voyant, Pristina, etc. Unlike some of those bands though, no:carrier eschews overly lush orchestrations and neoclassical conventions in favor of a simpler, uncluttered approach. The album cover provides some clue- Wechselberger and Wirsig dressed in black over a grey-white background (with a larger ghostly projection of their images) sitting in chairs with their backs to each other; Arty, Minimal, Remote. Much like the music on this album. I'm sure the cover was entirely calculated, and so is the music.

The often Kraftwerkian minimalism of the arrangements puts the accent solidly on the songs and the melody. Yes, there are some little studio tricks here and there but there is an elegant sparseness to 'Between The Chairs' that separates this band from a lot of others in the genre today. Most of the time, it works pretty well. Cynthia's vocals do have a certain distance about them, yet there is an undeniable undercurrent of emotion. Christian's infrequent vocals (with some processing) are spoken rather than sung; part rap and part flavor text.

So it is the songs and Cynthia's voice that are the focal point on this album. Her voice is smoky yet cool, like a menthol cigarette. The songs are a bit uneven, but when you have a collection of 14 songs, there are bound to be some that stand out ' 'Casting the First Stone,' 'Inside My Brain,' and 'Cask of Wonders' are pop gems. 'The Way You Laughed' is an odd ditty expressing sentimentality over a breakup, yet there is a cynical detachment in the vocals of both Wechselberger and Wirsig. On the 'The Turning Point' Cynthia's vocal recitation reminds me a lot of Anne Clark. 'Jerusalem Upon Your Palm' has a dark, Middle-Eastern vibe to it, but ends before it really has a chance to take off. I could have seen that song extended into something epic. 'High,' sounds like a mixture of Kate Bush, Jarboe, and Sarah McLachlan.

There really are no bad tracks on 'Between The Chairs,' it is just that some are better than others. Christian wrote almost everything on the album, but I'm sure Cynthia must have had a fair amount of input on the vocal melodies. There could be some major crossover potential on 'Between The Chairs,' yet it retains its own identity in the niche melancholy electro-pop genre. A good album worthy of discovery by the masses.

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