Saturday, 21st April 2018. 8:53:48pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Screaming for Emily- Malice
Artist: Screaming for Emily
CD Title: Malice
Label: North End Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 7/21/05

Screaming for Emily formed in 1986, gaining lasting underground notoriety with a single and a 6-song EP. Fast forward two decades, and you'll find Malice, the trio's brand new (and oddly enough, first) full-length outing under that original moniker. On Malice, Screaming for Emily's synth-centered sound oddly defies categorization as mere synthpop, often sounding as if it could have just as easily been translated into moody guitar pop. The band's songwriting and arrangements are often fairly simple and to the point. They're also, however, quite intuitive and instinctual, filled out by excellent deliveries and the charisma of vocalist Philip Sciortino, Jr.

Recalling everything from New Order to The Essence to Ric Ocasek's 80s solo work, the 10 tracks here present a sonically cohesive web of soaring theatrical synth rock highs and low-key synthpop ballads. Highlights include the moody bass driven opener "Thorns" (arguably the album's best), the synth piano hook driven "Deepen Yourself", and the disc's first single, the radio-friendly, low-key retro synth rocker "Deity". The dark and lovely "Purgatory Embrace" is another standout, moody synth piano providing drive and excellent semi-tribal drums serving as an anchor. While the disc's other tracks take something of a back seat, the album as a whole is fairly solid.

In the end, serving up a vintage blend of 80s synth rock/pop, the veteran outfit shines on Malice. Sometimes energetic and dynamic, at other times lush and atmospheric, it's a fairly strong, consistent outing. If you like your synthpop and synth-based alt rock moody, melodic, and emotive, you'll likely want to check out Screaming for Emily's return.

 

Screaming for Emily website: www.screamingforemily.com

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