The End Of The World - Review
This album is the first exposure I've had to this band since A Different Drum
no longer markets to a wide audience, previous releases only went to their VIP subscribers.
If you were lucky enough to be one of these or have picked them up elsewhere through digital or other means, then congratulations, you'll already be familiar with this excellent brand of synthpop. This album comes with a great mix of mid-tempo synthpop, while maybe not the most upbeat and dance-friendly, still a stellar album spanning fourteen tracks with over an hour of great music.
The structure of this album is a great mix as the music flows and blends very well. The mid-tempo beats have a bit of a swing with a syncopated rhythm in them on some tracks for a sassy style. The mix of male and female vocals add to this overall solid style. To quickly draw comparisons for those not familiar with this band, the first band that came to mind was Real Life
with the vocals and some of their mid-tempo tracks, they could have easily appeared on the same album. Another band that quickly came to mind was Anything Box
, again mostly for the vocal styles including the higher tenor male vocals and occasional female lead and backing vocals across the mid-tempo beat. However, this group definitely has a style all their own and as the album moves along and the listener becomes more familiar with their sound and style, it definitely becomes more recognizable and memorable.
With fourteen solid tracks there are definitely some masterpieces here. That solid mid-tempo beat moves along throughout most tracks starting of right from the beginning with a solid beat on "Never Give Up". This gives a nice introduction to the album and sets the stage for a couple of favorites in "In A While" and "Not For The Citizens". Both of these feature solid vocals including a powerful chorus in both cases, really pushing the limit of those vocals as they hit those high notes only the brave attempt to reach. The somber, pulsating synths moving along slowly with the beat create a solid soundscape to back up the vocals and thoughtful lyrics. What this album lacks in faster-paced danceable beats, it more than makes up in emotionally charged moods. Another pair of stellar pieces showcase this emotion on "Surrender To Survive" and "The End of the World". Both of these feature a heavy, brooding beat and undulating bass and various electronic loops and inclusion of some spoken word that seemingly turns on the emotional spout. As the album moves along, the slower, brooding mid-tempo beats give way to some slightly more upbeat tracks in "Born Again" which also includes a bit more intensity in the music and overall moods. Later "Lead Me Back In Time" slips slightly back into the derker moods and slower rhythms, but stil maintains just a tell-tale bounce in the rhythm. As we start to come to the final tracks the intense emotions come on strong through the darker and slower "The Gravity Of Light". While the music is darker, the vocals and lyrics really bring a new light to it all like the sun breaking through a dark and heavy fog on a spring morning. This brings us to the dark and somber finale to the album appropriately named "Purple Waves" with a bit more of an abstract and haunting touch to the music and minimal vocals, providing a somewhat soft-spoken ending to this excellent album.
With that the album and our review comes to a close. Once again, fans of the great electro-pop without the pounding, fast-paced dance-friendly beat can really enjoy this album. It's great to just listen to under many different circumstances, but with the slower rhythm, yet intense moods, it's probably not something you'll see filling the dance clubs around the world.