STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 157441-23139 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
I was very complimentary (8 squares) about this album's predecessor ('Weapons Of Mass Deception') so was very pleased to receive a copy of the latest from the Birmingham-based alternative rockers. I'm delighted to report this one's even better. The album opens gently with "Human 2.0", settling into a nice mid-tempo groove with neat instrumentation around it and demonstrating the high production values that continue throughout (the mixing, it has to be said, is brilliant: you can hear everything without anything dominating). The influences/comparisons I noted before are gentler this time, although still of the same era: Fleetwood Mac, Police, U2, Crowded House and Steve Taylor all spring to mind along with Richard Hawley, Mostly Autumn and Anathema from more recent times (and the band do deserve to be on the same bill with these three). The guitars are very effected (deep flanging and heavy echo especially) which has a goth feel á la Fields Of The Nephilim whereas the vocals are lower register more like David Byrne (with odd hints of psychedelia as in "Jerusalem Descending"). Overall it seems a much more consistent album than its predecessor, a band finding its feet and finding them well; planting them firmly and saying "this is where we are". Lyrically the band explore numerous biblical themes which you can read about in Andy Jennings' song-by-song rundown on the CR website and there's plenty of deep theology for those who want to dig. If there's any negative criticism then it's the choice of the album's closer: lyrically "He Sat Down" is an excellent choice with the clear "He died for us" refrain, but the country-pop setting (which reminded me too much of "Those Were The Days" by Mary Hopkin) didn't sit well with me. But overall, this is a fine album.
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