Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Lupe: Burn

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Artist: Lupe (@)
Title: Burn
Format: CD + Download
Label: Alcyone Records (@)
Rated: *****
Solo album (sort of) from Lupe, the lead singer of Greek goth-rock band Mosquito, with some of the members helping out on this album. Instrumentally, Mosquito has that typical goth-rock sound ala Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, the Cure, Fields of the Nephilim, et al. Lupe's vocals are something else again; an operatic baritone with plenty of vibrato that leans towards the pretentious, then dives right into it with abandon. Not all baritone though; he does sometimes extend his range into soprano with falsetto technique, and even down to basso. Now this kind of works for Mosquito when they're rocking out, but in this solo setting of morbid orchestration largely comprised of piano and heavy (synth) strings it can be difficult to take. It's a bit like Klingon Opera; definitely not for everyone. Themes are ultra-serious and melodramatic wringing out every bit of emotion Lupe can muster. From what you hear you might expect some strange long-haired character draped in velvet and leather but Lupe actually looks very normal. It's hard to reconcile this level grandiosity with anything else I could possibly think of. Even Scott Walker at his most unorthodox doesn't compare to this. Lyrics are in English but I'm not going to do the disservice of quoting any of them out of context here. (Some get a little lost in translation.) It ranges from brooding melancholy to overwrought anguish. There are some who are going to love this, but I'm willing to bet they're definitely in the minority. For me, as a whole 'Burn' was tough to take; a little goes a long, long way.