Saturday, May 30, 2020
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Analogue-X: Imaginary

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Artist: Analogue-X (@)
Title: Imaginary
Format: CD + Download
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
It seems like only yesterday (figuratively speaking) that I was reviewing German-Hungarian electropop band Analogue-X's 'Course of Life' album, and here they are already with a new one- 'Imaginary'. In terms of quality, there's nothing imaginary about 'Imaginary'; the band has significantly upped its game since its last outing. Not that 'Course of Life' was a bad album; it was really pretty good, but 'Imaginary' fulfills the promise of what this band is really capable of. Opening with the fantastical yet semi-low-key "Imaginary World," Analogue-X doesn't show all of its cards in the opening hand. It's a good song with a good hook, good beat and worthy synthtronics but there's an ace up the sleeve, and it's revealed in the killer "Angel of Light" which follows. It's almost as good as Camouflage's "The Great Commandment" (the best song that band ever did) and really kicks ass with its 4-onthe-floor beat and uber-memorable synth hook. Rene Mussbach is a good, but not great vocalist, but here he plays to his strength, which is drawing the listener in and putting an emotional spin on his lyrics rather than powering through them. ALexis Voice's synths work hand-in-glove to support the vocals rather than just show his technical prowess as was often the case on 'Course of Life'. I also noticed that Clarke Gahan is gone, which might have been for the best, if the quality of tracks on 'Imaginary' is any indication. The three tracks that follow are somewhat upbeat and certainly hook-laden, until we get to the romantic ballad, "Facade". It's rare that I hear a synthpop ballad that tears me up on a first listen, but this one did. Susie NLG's subtle backing vocals add a certain depth and sweetness that's a real asset to the performance. The song has a powerful hook too. The band picks up the pace again with "Call Your Name," and something tells me these guys are destined break the "regional" barrier with this album as they raise the bar with great melodic songwriting. It's about this point (8th track) on most albums where the quality tends to flag a bit and the songs coast. There's a modicum of that in "Time of Darkness" but not a big dip. "In My Memory" kicks it back into high gear with catchy synth riffs and a powerful left hook vocal. "Stage of Life" is one of those medium-tempo change-of-pace tracks that may take time to grow on you, and the same could be said for "Dark Moment". "Second Chance" capitalizes on Rene's vocal strengths, albeit with a good beat and synth execution. I expected a little more from final track, "My Guardian Angel" but it turned out not to be the clincher I was hoping for, just a nice melodic ending. Overall though, 'Imaginary' has so much meat on the bone one can't complain of leaving the table hungry. Hungry for more maybe, and we'll see what Analogue-X comes up with in the future, after their fame catches up with their talent.