Archive for June, 2013

Review: Feathers – If All Here Now

Posted in Review on June 17, 2013 by softsynth

Love them or hate them it’s hard to deny just how influential Depeche Mode have been on the world of electronic music lo these last few decades. So much so that rare is the new electronic band that isn’t at some point described by how they compare to some era of DM. We remember back in the mid-’80s when Book of Love were often compared to DM, more specifically as the “Female Depeche Mode” (assisted by opening for the Mode on a couple of tours, including one gig where the crowd was a little hostile and lead singer Susan Ottaviano tried to placate the crowd by noting they were “Depeche Mode’s girlfriends). We’ve been thinking of Book of Love and their place as the Female Depeche Mode because we can’t help but listen to the incredible debut album from Austin, Texas’ Feathers, and think, now *this* sounds like the Female Depeche Mode, specifically the sainted Violator-era Mode.

That’s not to oversimplify what this band has pulled off, because trite comparisons to other bands aside, If All Here Now is about as good a debut as we’ve heard in a yonk’s age. Continue reading


Review: Marsheaux – Inhale

Posted in Review with tags on June 13, 2013 by softsynth

When we reviewed Greek electro duo Marsheaux’s last album, Lumineaux Noir, a full four years ago, we were pretty hard on it. We were lukewarm at best, largely because it didn’t build on what had come before and it seemed to disappointingly fade into the background. (That said, the album has had remarkable staying power and still sounds pretty fresh.) What a difference an album makes.

Flash forward four years and without any kind of major makeover, the ladies have produced an album that is anchored in stellar songwriting and a stark awareness of what makes for a meaningful, smooth electronic musical experience. It’s an album that borrows heavily from the genre’s roots but in a reverential way, not a gimmicky or lazy manner. When someone can bottle the sound of the Golden Era of electronic music and reproduce it in a thematically-relevant way in 2013, they’ve stumbled upon the Good Shit.

Inhale is chock full of the Good Shit. Continue reading

Review: Ayria – Plastic Makes Perfect

Posted in Review with tags on June 12, 2013 by softsynth

As a Canada-based blog it’s always a delightful surprise when a Canadian electronic artist rises from the cold to make a stake in the firmament. It’s all-too-rare, but a nice treat when it comes along. Jennifer Parkin aka Ayria has been a consistent presence on the scene over the years and she has only gotten stronger with each release.

An unbelievable, heart-rending, five years since the release of her last album, Hearts for Bullets (which was on the first Softsynth best of the year list in ’08), she’s come back strong.  Continue reading