Before I start I just have to recomend this album to jdavyd and starplucker you will both love it!
ladyg0th and I first heard about the beginnings of this project almost 5 years ago and after such a long wait this band finally has put out an album Death to Analog. For anyonne not familiar w/ the band Julien-K (that would be most of you) it is a side project of Amir and Ryan of the band Orgy w/ some help from select others such as Chester Bennington from Linkoln Park. I have really been looking forward to this album since it was advertised to be more synth/dance oriented and not the unfortunate direction of mainstream rock that Orgy decided to go w/ thier latest release Punk Static Paranioa which I didn't really enjoy. You can really hear influences and similarities from other artists on each track. the synth structures throughout the album are to be described as epic and amazing. I can see why some of this album took a while as there are many intricacies and little details to notice all over the place. The drums also go back to an older style like the first Orgy album Candyass being more synthy and fun. Ryan has taken the vocal duties for this project and has taken his major influences from Jay Gordon (lead singer or Orgy) and was also coached by Chester (lead singer of Linkoln Park) which totally shows. Amir shines as always w/ his unique styl of synth guitar and use of a various array of sounds custom made for each track. Each track seems to embody it's own personality so I have decided to breack down each track, but to save space on your friends page I will put it behind a cut.
1 - Death to Analog - I must admit this was an interesting choice for an opening track since much of the song is sang by guest vocalist Chester Bennington. It does come at you full force though. Standard dancy beat w/ some really good sweeping synths and one of the more guitar oriented tracks on the album. It seriouosly reminds me of classic KMFDM the way the guitar and synth lines interact w/ the steady beat and also w/ the way the song is structured. This would fit perfectly on any of thier albums. This is one of the harder songs on here and I was taken back by a gutsy entrance like this although I don't think that they knew how to properly end the song.
2 - Kick the Bass - This is a song that the band had put on thier Myspace page as a demo, so I had heard it develop and morph as the years had gone by waiting for this album to come out. It came out very well in the end and am glad that they chose this song as thier first single although the opening track w/ a boost from Chester on vocals may have been a better buisness decision. This song seemed to be more focused more on the aspects of the vocals and well done synth drums that were remincent of earlier Duran Duran Roger Taylor's work. Even the bass synths seems to imitate old John Taylor lines in a way. The guitar is smooth in this song and not made to be the focal point and although a full landscape of synths are layered into this song like most of the album it tends to keep it's place in the background w/ is perfect for this song.
3 - Someday Soon - Almost VNV Nation and electroclash in nature. No real guitar in this track and is mostly besides the standard electroclash style beat full of layered synths and vocal effects. Would probably fare well at the club as it is very dancy. I wasn't as impressed by the vocal effects they used on the chorus as they come of a little cheesy.
4 - Technical Difficulties - This has to be one of the most intricate, hard and fast songs on the album. The drums and epic synths rule this track. The effects put onto the vocals for this one made it so they werent to "up front" and almost treated more as an instrument. For half of the song the drums reminded me Orgies cover of Blue Monday and for the other half of the song it was extremely abstract and almost in the genre of I.D.M. along w/ the well written out synth parts that fit perfect w/ the drum lines this has become one of my favorite tracks on here.
5 - Systeme de Sexe - I could compare this one to many artist. Think slower sexy tracks from Lords of Acid or a groovy track from And One. I really loved the lyrics on this track and the unique synths for this track were amazing. this would definitely be the track at the club that got all the girls on the floor dancing all provacatively. This one will definitely be on my club playlist next time I get a gig! Not a song to be made a single at all but one of the coolest and sexy songs on the album by far. just a great choice in the synths they used, I can't say that enough.
6 - Maestro - This was a song that was on the Myspace page for an instant only to disapear all of a sudden. I actually didn't think that it would make it to the album since it was there for only an instant. The synths and guitar on this song scream what modern goth music is. I would compare this to some of the slow synthy tracks from Bella Morte or perhaps a track from The Cruxshadows. This is the song that should solidify them into the goth crowd. beutiffull vocals over swirling synths and bells and hard guitar in the background w/ very apropriate goth styled drums. This is one of those songs that takes you to another place in your mind and helps you daydream the day away. A song that i could leave on repeat all day and never be sick of.
7 - forever - Slow much like Meastro so it does flow well. This song also starts off very sparse and slow w/ only a simple synth and hard hitting lone bass line. much of this song is simply written but it takes well for what it is as the vocals ore more the lead in this song. The drums that are in this song actually remind me much of old Genisis Phil Collins' lines. I think that there is too much lull in the verses but the chorus makes up w/ Amir's smooth synth guitar lines and Ryans well done vocal work. It was good that they put this song towards the middle of the album as I believe that it deserved to be on the album but wouldnt fare too well at the beginning or end.
8 - Spiral - This track is a complete departure from the rest of the album and almost doesn't fit w/ the rest of the songs on here. The synths have a campy Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran feel to them at times. In fact the entire songs seems like it was written recently by Duran Duran. If I had not heard Ryans voice I would have swore it was a new Duran Duran track. It comes off as a more fun track here and keeps the album more upbeat after the previously 2 slow songs.
9 - Nvr Say Nvr - A cover of Romeo Void. This was one of the only tracks on the album that I didn't really like much. I really wanted to like this song. Perhaps it was because I love the original so much and Julien-K just couldn't muster up a good enough cover. It almost seems to try too hard and puts too much into itself. Badly chosen synths and voal style was less than up to par.
10 - Dystopian Girl - Musically this almost seemed like a Mindless Self Indulgence track. Very punchy and in your face but it seems to morph before it enters the chorus into something strange but beutifull only to change suddenly into a heavy guitar driven chorus. An erractic song to say the least but somehow finds a way to fit together being so different perfectly. This is one of those rare tracks where you get to hear straight up guitar riffs and not the synth guitar and highly effected guitars. So many parts here that shouldnt fit and yet they have found a way to make them go so well together.
11 - Look at You - This is yet another song that was a demo on thier Myspace page and had developed and progressed a huge amount over time. This is a very stand out track to them and has so many aspects that were so well done. To start the vocals were structured and treated incredibly. Amir really shines on the synth guitar on this track espcially after the 2nd chorus. This song has to be described with the word "big". That is the kind of sound I get from this one completely. It is just a wall of awesome from start to finish never letting you catch your breath. I had been looking forward to this song from the demo which was a big sound itself but they upped it to a new level and made it even more huge. This was a song that made me want to try to sing along w/ it.
12 - Stranded - A strange bassy yet interesting synth starts this song. The vocals are a bit subdued for the verses but Ryans voice really shines through the pretty and sweeping synths on the chorus. This particular song seems a bit stripped down and yet feels like it should be for some reason. I just cant put my finger on who this reminds me of but i know it is someone. This track would be a good addition to any synthpop staple.
13 - Disease - The music on this one comes off almost like a 90's track by Orbital or Future Sounds of London for the versus but then goes kinda pop song for the chorus for a contrast. Even the guitars on this track take me back to the mid 90's. I believe that is where this song belonged at. Later in the song they change it up again seeming to put in acustic guitar for a line or two making it sound like a song written by Vast. This was one of the harder songs to pin down and define but in essence I guess that's a good thing. It's a "grows on ya" type of sone but it grows on you well.
14 - Futura (dta mix) This has to be one of my favorite songs on here. Let me paint you a picture. The song completely screams as if it was going to be on the newest Depeche Mode album to every last note. Even the lyrics seem as if they were written by Dave Gahan himself. The only thing is that Ryan on this track decided to sing in a different style. He sounds on the verses almost like the lead singer from Covenant w/ it's deep broodiness. It almost sounds like Depeche Mode's It's no Good w/ the way the synths and vocals go together. Either way it makes for an incredible last track on here and leaves you wanting more.
Overall this album was well worth the wait. I can only hope that they don't take that long for a follow-up record. As a bonus ladyg0th and I get to see them play as the headliner w/ The Birthday Massacre and M.S.I. in Nashville for thier opening date on thier tour mid June right after our trip to Hampton Roads.
We will be at the club tuesday June 9th. Thats also the day we arrive in hampton roads. So mark it on your calendar to come up to the wave that night. :D We are only going to be in town for a bit. (leaving that following Tuesday.) Hope we get a chance to see you there.