Cryo - Retropia
EBM, Electronics I reviewed the 'taster' for this album, the In Your Eyes EP, a few months ago, and it was good enough to whet my appetite for the forthcoming full-length. The band have been well favoured on these pages in recent years, but with several releases behind them, I was hoping for something more to say than 'if you liked the last few you'll like this one'. And sure enough, they've come up with something. Several somethings, in fact.

The two highlight tracks from the EP reappear here, with the excellent schaffel-style of "The Portal" as welcome here as it was on the EP, whilst the KLF-esque synth lead of EP title track "In Your Eyes" appears here preceded by an extended intro, opening up the album in rousing style. But strength of depth is what I'm here to judge, so let's see what Cryo have to deliver for those of us who still have time to devote to full length albums.

I'll break from my usual style and kick off with the weak points. "Believer" is a tiring four-and-a-half minutes of suffocating bass swamping whatever else is going on - that said, this may just my ears tiring of such aural assualts. After all, this kind of thing is very 'in' right now, so you might like it if you're "cooler" than I am. "I Use You" attempts the slow, menacing build-up dynamic, but despite some VERY Jean-Luc De Meyer vocals, it takes too long to build up to what isn't really that much of a climax. The EBM inspired "Shelter" is dynamic enough, certainly one of the most beat-driven Cryo tracks to date, but apart from that achieves little of note musically.

But these downsides are more than compensated for. "Common Man" is the perfect antidote for "Believer", a slow, minimally synthetic composition that rediscovers the seemingly-lost art of reverb to remind all that a less-is-more approach can do wonders to give your recordings space to breathe. "Too Much" brings the two extremes of Cryo's sound together, a rough, jarring series of verses interspersed with a lush chorus that sums up in a single recording everything I like about this project.

It's towards the end of the album that things really get interesting. "Yesterday" is little more than a filter-swept synthline and swirling atmospherics, sitting stylistically between that Male or Female 242-offshoot and mid-70s Tangerine Dream. And in case you think I have no business mentioning dinosaur krautrock bands on these pages, just wait until you've heard the album finale, a three-part suite entitled "So Close", with all parts (but particularly the first) featuring some seriously old-school vocoder action (always an earworm for me), and acting as a microcosm of the album's overall sound through it's duration.

So yes, Cryo deliver once again, and they've found some legitimate paths forward in terms of aural texture and song structure without needing to break from their core sound. The only downer is I've already heard certain influential (?) figures herald my least favourite track from the albums, "Believer" as the potential club hit of the eleven! Seriously, if you're DJing anywhere near me, pick one of the others. Any of them. Even one of ones without drums.....
4
Brutal Resonance

Cryo - Retropia

I reviewed the 'taster' for this album, the In Your Eyes EP, a few months ago, and it was good enough to whet my appetite for the forthcoming full-length. The band have been well favoured on these pages in recent years, but with several releases behind them, I was hoping for something more to say than 'if you liked the last few you'll like this one'. And sure enough, they've come up with something. Several somethings, in fact.

The two highlight tracks from the EP reappear here, with the excellent schaffel-style of "The Portal" as welcome here as it was on the EP, whilst the KLF-esque synth lead of EP title track "In Your Eyes" appears here preceded by an extended intro, opening up the album in rousing style. But strength of depth is what I'm here to judge, so let's see what Cryo have to deliver for those of us who still have time to devote to full length albums.

I'll break from my usual style and kick off with the weak points. "Believer" is a tiring four-and-a-half minutes of suffocating bass swamping whatever else is going on - that said, this may just my ears tiring of such aural assualts. After all, this kind of thing is very 'in' right now, so you might like it if you're "cooler" than I am. "I Use You" attempts the slow, menacing build-up dynamic, but despite some VERY Jean-Luc De Meyer vocals, it takes too long to build up to what isn't really that much of a climax. The EBM inspired "Shelter" is dynamic enough, certainly one of the most beat-driven Cryo tracks to date, but apart from that achieves little of note musically.

But these downsides are more than compensated for. "Common Man" is the perfect antidote for "Believer", a slow, minimally synthetic composition that rediscovers the seemingly-lost art of reverb to remind all that a less-is-more approach can do wonders to give your recordings space to breathe. "Too Much" brings the two extremes of Cryo's sound together, a rough, jarring series of verses interspersed with a lush chorus that sums up in a single recording everything I like about this project.

It's towards the end of the album that things really get interesting. "Yesterday" is little more than a filter-swept synthline and swirling atmospherics, sitting stylistically between that Male or Female 242-offshoot and mid-70s Tangerine Dream. And in case you think I have no business mentioning dinosaur krautrock bands on these pages, just wait until you've heard the album finale, a three-part suite entitled "So Close", with all parts (but particularly the first) featuring some seriously old-school vocoder action (always an earworm for me), and acting as a microcosm of the album's overall sound through it's duration.

So yes, Cryo deliver once again, and they've found some legitimate paths forward in terms of aural texture and song structure without needing to break from their core sound. The only downer is I've already heard certain influential (?) figures herald my least favourite track from the albums, "Believer" as the potential club hit of the eleven! Seriously, if you're DJing anywhere near me, pick one of the others. Any of them. Even one of ones without drums..... Feb 19 2014

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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