This release from the Canadian quartet Mannequin Depressives is nothing if not varied with a wide range of styles all getting a look in but still coming across as a very together album rather than a disparate collection of unrelated pieces.
There's something for pretty much anyone within these 14 tracks, from the touching love song "What Happened?" to the gorgeously majestic instrumental "Untitled", a title that in no way does justice to this majestic masterpiece of piano and strings in perfect unison that even Vangelis would be proud to call his own. Such tracks are contrasted sharply by the atonal title track which opens the album like an offbeat overture and the 11 minute closer "Electronic Tonalities". The title sounds like some early 70s LP demonstrating the sonic capabilities of the synthesizer and the abstract music, a seemingly random collection of noise and atonal effects follows this route. While there is a market for this kind of stuff it feels totally out of context here (even allowing for the band's unpredictability) and a rather pointlessly self indulgent exercise. "Portal" is a better example of how to experiment in music and even if running music backwards has been done by other artists in the past it does at least succeed in setting some unusual effects.
As a rule, though, this variety of styles proves to be the album's strong point with 80s touches strewn throughout (which the title also refers to). The prominent bass guitar on the new-wave-like "Break" is one such example (although the funky piano sounds like The Happy Mondays or any of the Madchester mob!) while the excellently catchy synthpop of "No Fun", the New Order-influenced "Reach" (which is just a bit too happy for these ears!) or,taking a slightly more modern outlook, the near-instrumental techno of "Cyberdelic" and the electro/EBM of "Autofire" and "Images" as well as the laid back "Sunday Morning" ably cover most EM bases. More importantly, the essential feeling for these musics that they obviously have means that everything they do they know how to do well.
The band member's many musical influences combine to make a pleasingly varied album and prove themselves versatile and talented musicians time and time again. One thing's for sure, you could never accuse them of being predictable!
Artist Link: http://www.blitter.com/music