Like many musicians today, Brad Mcallister (who is also a member of the excellent CTRL) and Brian Pearson display their influences very firmly on their sleeves. It's obvious that their influences lay in the realms of 80s pop as these influences come thick and fast with Pearson's old-skool guitar work proving a constant facet of the album and the band's sound. The opening seconds of "A Dream" sound uncannily like the opening of Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" although the track as a whole is closer to modern US synthpop styles with a soft vocal perfomance from Mcallister while the sound effects that herald the beginning of "These Words" bring the start of Gary Numan's "I Dream Of Wires" to mind. Fortunately they do condense these definate influences into a more progressive style with some electro-styled rhythms to be found during "Losing Game" and the pacey and hypnotic "The Grey", proving that while the duo might be influenced by the 80s but aren't obsessed by them (a very sensible option, in my opinion!). Similarly "No Real Solution" that, whilst retaining the 80s influences shows the band in a fine light whilst retaining the 80s influences does boast some effective synth riffs and strong percussion and effected vocals while Jennifer Leathers puts in a superbly sensuous vocal performance on "Random Event" in a style similar to Maggie De Monde of Scarlet Fantastic (remember them?). To call it ground breaking would definately be stretching the truth but it is an agreeable mix of the old and the more up-to-date. While the odd false lead such as the REM-like opener "Paris", the bluesy title track (which would make a good theme for a US cop show, to be fair!) or the lofi Radiohead/blues hybrid that is "Interlude" (which, due to it's brevity, proves to be just that) might well have you reaching for the 'skip' button the overall impression is of a superior pop-inspired album while the closing instrumental "These Words" ends the album on an excellent and reflective note, ample proof of the band's skill.
It's unlikely that many people are going to enjoy this album the whole way through the talent is obviously there and maybe the follow-up will boast the cohesive centre this one lacks slightly, Still it's a good start to their career and those who still hanker for the 80s will definately not want to miss this one.
Artist Link: http://www.diffusion.com