Friday, June 2, 2017

New Today : 'Better than Death"

My ex wife used to call the monotone baritone replication of what Ian Curtis did the voice. She began to associate most of the new wave of post- punk bands as having the voice. The voice is present on this album, but it's tempered with lush and creative spectrum of guitar. It's not until the second song that he puts more ghostly emotion into his voice and begins to break into a more death rock sound.The drums are more than likely programmed.  The songs all tend to have the goth drone and circle the one theme, this might be in order to have chance the programmed drums out."anymore" find the vocals sinking back into towards  the voice, but have more of a Jim Morrison thing going on while the guitar continues to hold a stark tension with an abundance of atmosphere.

While the singer doesn't go into the death rock voice he does us a higher and lighter tone on "Skirts" . This would be a better song if the drums programmed or not , did something different as it begins to get a little stale by this point. "Wake up Call" should be a wake up call to the band that it's about time for them to do something different musically as the synth line and the drums are too much like those on the previous song. The vocals are more varied in their phrasing , but the music beneath them is so stagnant it squeezes the life from them. I am not sure about the bass tone that opens "Savior Dot Com". Lyrically this song shows the most promise. But the music once again creates an obstacle for the vocals to overcome rather than filling in as needed.  One problem with the bass that becomes more obvious when we get to "Commendation" is it is not played aggressively enough to really give it the kind of heft that most effectively propels any of the genres  aspire to to draw inspiration from.

The mood shifts ever so slightly to a more indie rock mood with Jim Morrison like vocals  on "the Years". This is the kind of dynamic variance that the album needs while not drawing them out of their wheelhouse.The Jim Morrison influence rises higher on "Omega Man". While there is a different sound and mood , these are arranged with the keenest sense of song writing. I like the fact that the closing song "Destiny" is much darker. The vocals are not in the forefront in some of the more sonic sections and when they do float out from under the murk they lower. I'll give this album a 7.5 as the issues with the drum machines giving it a rather uniform feel and relying on the vocals to do all the work. This is not to say there are not interesting songs and sounds if you are thristy ofr post-punk that goes beyond Ian Curtis worship this is for you.

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