Cinemascape - The Falling Impossible
Synthpop, New Wave There's two places in this world where one can almost always locate a nugget or two of quality synthpop. Sweden and the Conzoom Records roster. And it just so happens that said label have issued a version of Cinemascape's début album. This particular Scandinavian quartet actually manage to stand out before you've listened to so much as a note of their music, eschewing the abstract artworks dished up by the majority of their modern day contemporaries in favour of a decadent, nay garish, group shot on the cover.

I'm even more convinced that I've been teleported back to the early-to-mid 80's upon listening to the first track, "Night Vision". A quasi-orchestral string loop, a one-keyed bassline and a singer treading the fine boundaries between effete and out-and-out camp. Have we uncovered the missing link between Soft Cell and Erasure? Perhaps not. "Modern Death" brings us back to earth, an essentially solid, cynical mid-tempo pop number spoilt by some overly-forced wordplay. I'll give you an example ? "Modern Death. Modern Life. Modern Husband. Modern Wife". No, not quite up to Marc Almond standards, I'm afraid.

But there does seem to be a genuine effort to push boundaries here. Admittedly, there are some example of garden-variety synthpop (Maskless, Names of Things, The Falling Impossible) so bland and generic that I can barely manage to write one line to describe the lot of 'em, and other tracks that rely on over-practised techniques, like the up-n-down arpeggios of "The Sky". But how many synthpop tracks can you name recorded in waltz time? Other than "Maid Of Orleans", I mean. Cinemascape have managed it with "Face The Night". Whilst the implementation of the song is sloppy in places, not transitioning cleanly between it's various parts, it at least creates the electro-cabaret feel that I think they were after all along.

But Cinemascape are especially strong when when they go unashamedly retro. "I Won't Come Home Tonight" is pure Vince Clarke style synthy ear candy, of the kind that makes me want to dance like Andy Bell, whilst the songs lyrics are a wonderfully dismissive parting shot delivered to a high-maintenance ex. "Bloodstained" goes even further back, with a lead synth that harks back to Wendy Carlos or mid-70's Kraftwerk. Give it a solid beat and some symbolic lyrics and you've secured a fast track to my iPod playlist. And from there, maybe a DJ setlist. Must do that retro-electro night some time......

Darker in tone is "Suicidal Teenage Boy", a hint of social awareness coming from a band who aren't afraid of a little bit of dubious taste to get their message across. Another stand-out is "Boulevards In The Rain", meshing a noisy, rock-styled beat with more melodic elements. Meanwhile, "Deep Waters" is notable for showing a good deal more creativity in programming and integrating that up-and-down arp device that stuck out too much and duly spoiled "The Sky".

This album therefore bears an interesting comparison to the Carved Souls album I reviewed a few weeks back, both bands sharing the same label. 'The Carved Souls' album delivered a "pure" form of synthpop that was more consistent throughout it's duration, but ultimately got "samey" toward the end. This album doesn't quite offer the same quality control, but it's certainly more varied in style and therefore more interesting to listen to from start to finish.
3
Brutal Resonance

Cinemascape - The Falling Impossible

6.5
"Alright"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2012 by Conzoom Records
There's two places in this world where one can almost always locate a nugget or two of quality synthpop. Sweden and the Conzoom Records roster. And it just so happens that said label have issued a version of Cinemascape's début album. This particular Scandinavian quartet actually manage to stand out before you've listened to so much as a note of their music, eschewing the abstract artworks dished up by the majority of their modern day contemporaries in favour of a decadent, nay garish, group shot on the cover.

I'm even more convinced that I've been teleported back to the early-to-mid 80's upon listening to the first track, "Night Vision". A quasi-orchestral string loop, a one-keyed bassline and a singer treading the fine boundaries between effete and out-and-out camp. Have we uncovered the missing link between Soft Cell and Erasure? Perhaps not. "Modern Death" brings us back to earth, an essentially solid, cynical mid-tempo pop number spoilt by some overly-forced wordplay. I'll give you an example ? "Modern Death. Modern Life. Modern Husband. Modern Wife". No, not quite up to Marc Almond standards, I'm afraid.

But there does seem to be a genuine effort to push boundaries here. Admittedly, there are some example of garden-variety synthpop (Maskless, Names of Things, The Falling Impossible) so bland and generic that I can barely manage to write one line to describe the lot of 'em, and other tracks that rely on over-practised techniques, like the up-n-down arpeggios of "The Sky". But how many synthpop tracks can you name recorded in waltz time? Other than "Maid Of Orleans", I mean. Cinemascape have managed it with "Face The Night". Whilst the implementation of the song is sloppy in places, not transitioning cleanly between it's various parts, it at least creates the electro-cabaret feel that I think they were after all along.

But Cinemascape are especially strong when when they go unashamedly retro. "I Won't Come Home Tonight" is pure Vince Clarke style synthy ear candy, of the kind that makes me want to dance like Andy Bell, whilst the songs lyrics are a wonderfully dismissive parting shot delivered to a high-maintenance ex. "Bloodstained" goes even further back, with a lead synth that harks back to Wendy Carlos or mid-70's Kraftwerk. Give it a solid beat and some symbolic lyrics and you've secured a fast track to my iPod playlist. And from there, maybe a DJ setlist. Must do that retro-electro night some time......

Darker in tone is "Suicidal Teenage Boy", a hint of social awareness coming from a band who aren't afraid of a little bit of dubious taste to get their message across. Another stand-out is "Boulevards In The Rain", meshing a noisy, rock-styled beat with more melodic elements. Meanwhile, "Deep Waters" is notable for showing a good deal more creativity in programming and integrating that up-and-down arp device that stuck out too much and duly spoiled "The Sky".

This album therefore bears an interesting comparison to the Carved Souls album I reviewed a few weeks back, both bands sharing the same label. 'The Carved Souls' album delivered a "pure" form of synthpop that was more consistent throughout it's duration, but ultimately got "samey" toward the end. This album doesn't quite offer the same quality control, but it's certainly more varied in style and therefore more interesting to listen to from start to finish. Jun 22 2012

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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