Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Birthday Massacre : "Under Your Spell"

The first time I heard this project was via an ex-girlfriend when their first album came out many moons ago. I was turned off by the fact that it was way too happy from the image projected by how they marketed themselves and it reminded me of  something from an anime soundtrack. So giving them another shot years later I am happy to say that is toned way down in favor for a darker more melancholy tone. I guess when it comes to poppy darkwave bands like Chrvches have taken it way into the mainstream, so having taken note of where music has gone since their inception the needed changes were made. I am on the defensive expecting Asian girls with pom poms to come dancing out with cyber dreads at any time. But now we are avoiding major keys and they keep things with a shadow around the silver lining even going into the third song which hint at dub-step tones bubbling under the surface. The production value having of course evolved with the times to make this a smooth slick machine.

There is a lighter note to the more sugar laced melodies of "Without You" that benefits from smart pop song writing sensibilities. There is more drive to "Counterpane" that give the singer's voice the feeling that she is more of a rock singer than she actually is. So here is there secret. These guys are well versed in what their limitations are and know how to turn them into strengths. This seems to have come from experience. The thick electro beat of "Unkind" gives the song enough heft to counter balance the more anime sounding key board melodies. The chorus does lack the punch to compliment this beat and is not as hooky as the previous songs, even when the guitar comes in a the refrain. There is a more of an early 00's pulse to "Games" . If you are thinking Evanescence you are pretty close. The vocals are poppier , but devoid of any nu-metal so I'll take that.

"Hex" is one of the album's strongest songs. It finds the beat and the vocals working well together to find them playing to their strengths.  There is more guitar leading into what turns into a more tender "No Tomorrow". The song builds back into a more brooding chorus rather than going big as expected. They go into more of a dream pop feel with "the Lowest Low". Which is a ballad I suppose. "Endless" picks up into what would be a more typical dance floor filler. Not the album's most inspired song, but typical for what they do. I like this album, it's entertaining. I'll give it a 8.5 for now and see how it grows on me.

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