Music Reviews



THE HUNTERS: Hands On Fire

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 26 2011
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Artist: THE HUNTERS
Title: Hands On Fire
Format: CD EP
Label: Aagoo Records
Rated: *****
The Hunters are a band hailing from Brooklyn/N.Y. formed by singers/guitarists Derek Watson and Isabel Almeida. Their E.P. HANDS ON FIRE is out on Aagoo Records and contains five new tracks. As far as I know this is their first official release and it fill its fifteen minutes with derailing guitars, tribal drumming and boy/girl duets. Mixed by Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and produced by former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, The Hunters deliver tracks that are a mix of Sonic Youth and the Vaselines: a sort of N.Y. punk with shoegaze attitude. "Deadbeat", "Noisybitch" or "Headache" are tracks that are capable to be immediate, powerful and melodic. A nice surprise that you can check in its entirety here http://huntersny.bandcamp.com/album/hands-on-fire

Unease: Mind The Gloom

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 23 2011
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Artist: Unease (@)
Title: Mind The Gloom
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Seemingly a newcomer with a self-released 7-track EP, this Swedish duo consisting of Tommy Falk and Patrik Lark surprises with its smooth sound-outfit somewhere between Depeche Mode, Ultravox and/or New Order. These prominent global players are the idols for them, although it needs a bit more development and polishing, until Tommy and Patrik will be able to reach more recognition. Unease are producing a sound strongly dedicated to Alternative/Electronica music featuring a good, warm sounding vocalist, which gets mostly supported by acoustic guitar insertions. Not completely my cup of tea, plus not completely flawless, but the talent is like a raw diamond pressed onto a silver plastic circle, which spins some rounds in my home entertainment. What I generally miss is a bit more variation in their kind of composing and their choice of sound design. Their song structures, of course only presented on these 7 tracks, are a bit repetitive and mostly based in a slow, up to a mid-tempo ranging area. The lyrics are filled with melancholy, which fits to the music. These 7 tracks don't offer anything which could additionally work on the dancefloors - and here hides the problem. If Unease decide to start to write an everlasting club smash-hit, which additionally could be able to impress the more Pop-music based audience, then I tend to say, that they could start a well doing career. Thumb up though for their tasteful artwork, which looks surprisingly professional for a self-released product. This review ends with the short comment 'not poppy enough', but whoever knows what will be with their next release? This duo has definitely a good talent, so let's see and hear, which course they will take'¦

Descendants of Cain: Songs From A Vanishing World

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 21 2011
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Artist: Descendants of Cain
Title: Songs From A Vanishing World
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Bang on cue, I'm listening the fifth album by London based band Descendants of Cain after an exhausting and vain traversing of an ocean of frenzy customers for the recurring Xmas madness - no particular gifts, just some underwear and chocolates -, particularly when after the darkish ambient-tinged introduction "The Final Awakening", Mr Kruger pours his vision about a planet crowded by enslaved people whose only duty is sleep and buy (a sort of invitation to see how dramatic should be the situation on the ground "Man of the clouds/what are we doing here?/Sleep sleep sleep/And buy buy buy/What you can't keep/Just throw on the heap") in "Lullaby For The Masses", the first tessera of the dreary mosaic of this disquieting "vanishing world", scrambled by a collection of songs and meaningful lyrics. Well, it formally originates from a set of figment of the musician's imagination, but nowadays many people's experience could feel it closer to reality. For instance, it's quite difficult to dissent from DoC's (psycho)analysis of the somewhat sadistic relation between mass media and audience, whose X-ray report defines it as pornography for the soul in the homonymous song. Even controversial or flamboyant songs like "Refuge from Thought", where the ascertainment of the loneliness considered more like an absence of personal reflections so that some thoughts could act like malicious masters reducing the person to a sort of mental slavery, could make sense as well as the obsessive self-questioning in this sort of rush for freedom they sing in "Drift", the final song, where ego keepson whirling while asking itself "As I've come to the edge/Of our fate on the rise/And I wonder which way we will fly? Or will the flames of minds consume us alive?". In order to support such a vision, they bounces many styles (mainly gothic rock, ambient and orchestral music), and in spite of some margins for enhancement the reasearch for a more personal style, they propose a quite interesting stylistical melt, supported for this issue by other notorious descendants of that notorious biblical sod: Ashley Dayour (Whispers of the Shadows), who cannot but like whispering to the listener's conscience in a very catching way in the song "Clockwork Monsters" (one of my favorite of the album); the legendary Wayne Hussey (leader of The Mission), whose interpretation of "This House" recalled to my musical memory Ian Astbury's one of Unkle's "Burn My Shadows" for some strange reason and, last but not least, Tommy Dark's guitar on "The Road". I wonder if Abel could be moved to pity by the praiseworthy decision to donate proceeds from sales of the album to the UK based Wildlife Heritage Foundation (a charity organization to protect big cat species from extinction)!

FUNK POLICE: Hot We Are Funk We Play

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 18 2011
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Artist: FUNK POLICE
Title: Hot We Are Funk We Play
Format: 12"
Label: Avant! Records
Rated: *****
Coming from Metz, Lorraine, France, the Funk Police are delivering through Avant! Records their first album HOT WE ARE FUNK WE PLAY. Issued on vinyl and digital format, the album contains ten tracks that mix classic post punk funk sounds (see as references Gang Of Four or A Certain Ratio) with the r'n'r rawness of the Crypt bands of the nineties like Chrome Cranks or Nine Poud Hammer. Check how Funk Police use guitar: it plays r'n'r chords with slide parts and all but they use razor shaped like sounds just like the post punk bands. Another example? While the drums sound like a running train, the singer is like a mix of Alan Vega, Lux Interior and Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Repetition and distortion are the key element of the tracks and the bass guitar along with the drums are their beating heart. Now sounding pounding and then sounding like they are possessed by a black demon, Funk Police take their influences to the excess like they were conducting a voodoo dance. Check "Red Blood Black Boobs" and you'll have pretty much the idea of what I'm saying. Anyway, there's a perfect way to make your own idea as you can check the whole album at the Avant! Records Bandcamp page at this link: http://avantrecords.bandcamp.com/album/funk-police-hot-we-are-funk-we-play-lp.

The Arch: Engine In Void

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Dec 16 2011
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Artist: The Arch (@)
Title: Engine In Void
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Not so many music lovers remember this Belgian band and the fact they disappeared for almst 15 years, as if we except a "best of" issued in 2009 and a single including a cover version of the punk classic "I Can't Live In A Living Room" in 2008, their last appearance dates back to 1997, when Nova Tekk's sister-label Solar Plexus issued "In Sofa", a release which didn't reach the considerable notoriety of their debut single cd "As Quiet As" including their most famous song, even if they tried to quote it by a remix of their most famous song, "Babsi Ist Tot", inspired by the "generational" junk-story Christiane F. On a sky which is not so much star-spangled like the times they musically lived, such a coming back could be considered nice due to its cartload of nostalgia, but they're far from being considered somewhat original as the only element which could let perceive some contemporary clues is the masterly work on mastering, together with some wise hooks on dancefloor, such as in tracks like "Barbuze" and "Seminary". In many tracks, it's quite recognisable that burbling electric bass and that kind of delay applied on a distinguishable electronic borborygmus which can be easily associated to tricks used by Depeche Mode since their first steps, particularly when they build more melancholic atmospheres, which are the moments that are going to get easily exposed on listener's minds and hearts and on mine as well, being my favorite ones, the initial "Individuals", the final "In Silence", "Miss Take" (whose equivocality could be easily associated to a sort of bondage session...) and "Skinny Meadows", where they manages to fill the voids of some moments where their 80ies reprise sounds excessively meager and predictable. Most of you could disagree with this kind of musical exhumations, but it's quite stunning the fact they keep on emotionally impress new and old generations as showed on the clip of Individuals, you can easily verify. Before some of you ask it to me, that cute child on the cover has been grabbed from a very old phot, taken at the beginning of the last century, portraying a deaf boy hearing for the first time!


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