If you're looking to dance then you've come to the right place as Canadian duo of Jennifer Parkin and Bogart Swadchuck are here to make you move. As soon as you listen to "Freedom" or "Antigravity" or "Power Down", the kind of dancefloor stormers that any self-respecting band needs to have in their musical armoury then it's obvious that this is a strongpoint of theirs, although you ought to beware of the darker facade that lies behind the pumping rhythms. That's right, all is not peace and light in the world of Epsilon Minus with melancolic lyrics that cut through even the racey rhythms of "Wasted Years" and the melodic "Faceless Whispers" (as well as the techno-orientated 'Hallucinate" remix) while the music has many elements that are quite dark and fearful, not the euphoric anthems many might have been expecting (not that this is a bad thing, of course!). It's this juxtaposition that is at the heart of the Epsilon Minus sound and the band's darkly emotional heart is let loose more fully on the slower tracks such as the closing "Nothing Is Indestructable" where some mournful but totally effective guitar (it must be authentic even though no guitars are credited) set a 'morning after the night before' feel with Jennifer's plaintive "Please stop looking at my scars" proving unsettling as if we were intruding on her most intimate emotions. The same sound is used on the similarly emotional "Lost" and although this is another rhythmic piece Jennifer again emotes perfectly, touching the emotions of all but the most cold-hearted listener. The mix is again perfect and adds an extra dimension to the EM sound. "Protection" is a darker, menacing piece with industrial rhythms and is, for this writer, the best track on the album with Jennifer's spoken vocals another plus point on this utterly superb piece. The fact that these differing moods are integrated so successfully is testament to the duo's talent with the heavily rhythmic "Chiba City Blues" sitting comfortably alongside the darker, almost menacing "Protection" but always with that sharp and often gritty Epsilon Minus touch running throughout.
Although it may take one or two listens for the album's assets to become fully appreciable, to my mind, this is the one, of all the Alfa Matrix releases to date, that comes closest to the label's concept of "Connecting Hearts and Minds" and is an essential purchase.
Artist Link: http://www.alfa-matrix.com