Music Reviews



The Colour: The Colour is Out & About

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 07 2004
Artist: The Colour
Title: The Colour is Out & About
Format: CD
Label: Monarchy Music Corp
The Colour's new disc "The Colour is Out & About" is a bold dish of retro rock n roll with the vocal verve of The Doors meets Robert Smith of The Cure, the instrumental initiative of 60s and 70s rock with the precocious pop attitude of The Cardigans (and The Cure again). Little this original (while being so very remembering of roots) exists in today's rock scene, I must say. In a lot of ways I would list these guys as the new Cure (them again, I know, and the evocative vocal stylings certainly push heavily that direction but the music isn't so far removed either, though it is its own thing) or variation thereof. The new New Wave? The music is ballsy and manages not to sound terribly pretentious, though by all rights it should. Such whiskey smooth music that percolates with the flavors of things past and forward thinking songwriting certainly deserves attention. The solidified sound acheived with this fine mixed drink is admirable. Catch this fresh wave of rock.

Black Tape for a Blue Girl: Halo Star

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 07 2004
Artist: Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Title: Halo Star
Format: CD
Label: Projekt
The dynamics - both in instrumental and songwriting terms - of Black Tape for a Blue Girl's "Halo Star" is the personified melancholy that's as much a member of the band as the actual humans who serve as vessels for the angst. In many ways, this can be considered definitive of the goth genre (the non-metal, non-industrial side) in that, like the broadly sweeping spectrum of bands loosely dubbed "goth" mostly due to the shadowy mood, in that it moves through a number of different instrumental constructions in its effort to face the pain within. Besides the soft and deliberate but captivating vocals, there are a number of different flavors - all within Black Tape's style - of music. Tribal percussion and world flavored music grace "Tarnished"; drifting flute, gentle acoustic guitar and lethargic and simple percussion flow through "the Gravediggers"; "Knock Three Times" surprises with its downtempo morphine nod to burlesque or crooner music of yon old times ... classic style filtered through the goth sensibilities of Black Tape; "Damn Swan" is haunting and ethereal and mesmerizes with ghostly female vocals; hints of Pink Floyd can be heard swimming through "Dagger"; and the concluding title track compresses heartache into a piano driven piece with the vocals leaving the sense of saying goodbye with a cure unfound for the soul's pain. And yet as varied as this description sounds (and I've not mentioned every song on the CD), what's most compelling is how subtle the differences seem to be in the course of the track to track flow of "Halo Star". Sadness and wistfulness pervade ever second of this lonely but warm stream flowing slowly, weepily through the mind.

Black Tape for a Blue Girl: Halo Star

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 07 2004
Artist: Black Tape for a Blue Girl
Title: Halo Star
Format: CD
Label: Projekt
Black Tape for a Blue Girl's gothic dark wave veers away from the ostentatious melodrama of a lot of wannabe goth artists and presents simple and captivating music that moves with the sad flow of a lethargic river of tears. Soft guitar or new age-inspired ambient melodies back soft vocals, both male and female - either/or and sometimes both - and the effect is the moody cry of a pained soul with a strong spark still striving to reach out to another soul. Slightly exotic world - and even, at least once, crooner on morphine ("Knock Three Times") - flavors creep up in places, contributing to the overall texture. This new disc, "Halo Star", is a pretty piece of heartfelt songwriting that opens its trapped under shadows heart for the listener, who may discover herein another soul like unto his own. The lyrics are poetic and evocative, as one should expect from music whose mood relies as heavily on the lyrics as the instrumentals, though those things of beauty too are, well, instrumental. If you spun ad shadows into music you would have Black Tape for a Blue Girl.

Chamber(L'Orchestre De Chambre Noir): Miles Away: A Premonition of Solitude

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 07 2004
Artist: Chamber(L'Orchestre De Chambre Noir)
Title: Miles Away: A Premonition of Solitude
Format: CD
Label: Projekt/Tristol
Chamber (L'Orchestre De Chambre Noir) has released "Miles Away: A Premonition of Solitude", as just what the title suggests, a preview of the upcoming album"Solitude." Technically, they're calling this a single, but at 12 tracks, it's the longest single I think I've ever heard of. The tracks are minimalist for an, er, 'L'Orchestre', but that's the point, it seems, to show the listener another side of Chamber. There are strings accompaniment behind some of the singer/songwriter style songs but the focus is the piano or guitar plus the deep vocals of the singer, reminiscent of the low slung singing of Crash Test Dummies' front man. The music is poignant and saturated with melancholy, though more playful elements rise to the surface at time. The compositions are lovely and there's no doubting the talent of the singer. Mostly acoustic singer/songwriter goth-folk, listeners who enjoy soft and contemplative tunes with an eye for sadness will find here something to enjoy. Non-goth fans may find the vox a little melodramatic, but that's often a staple of gothic music and "Miles Away" boasts appeal beyond so-called goth fans. Anyone who likes acoustic, soulful songs will like this.

54seconds: Coma

 Posted by Kristofer Upjohn   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Aug 02 2004
Artist: 54seconds
Title: Coma
Format: CD
"Coma", from 54seconds, is one of those CDs you lay back, close your eyes and drift into. Roughly categorizable as shoegazer, though without the heavy distortion element sometimes found in that arena, "Coma" is a very aptly titled release, not because the music is boring - it's not - but because it is so inward reaching you'll find yourself inhabiting a state of mind, not body, as you sink into the sadness and contemplativeness of 54seconds personal and expressive lyrics. Drifting through the clouds and pondering one's life, mind and soul ... this is the sort of realm inhabited by 54seconds' music, which comes off sort of like indie rock heavily filtered through ambient. Pianos, lethargic guitars and psychedelic effects, topped with quiet, sad vocals, create a sound that is melancholy but also capable of bringing you into the realm of musical relaxation.


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