CD title: Shifting
Label: Self Released
Genre: Synthpop, electronica
Reviewer: Steve Fearon
You can buy this album here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/phenotract4
Phenotract is the brainchild of Eric Shan, a US based musician, and "Shifting" is the 3rd full release by this artist.
"Shifting" is a generally down tempo, laid back piece, with a quirky nature and an interesting approach to songwriting in general.
The variety of sounds used remind me of bands like Fisherspooner and Radiohead in their more electronic escapades, without perhaps the same sense of pizazz as the former, or intrigue as the latter.
Extensive use of retro synth sounds and heavily reverbed vocals, lends itself to new wave references, and whilst there is definitely more to this album than throwback chic, its safe to say that if you enjoy the music of The Human League, New Order and the like, you will find something to like here.
The overriding feeling emanating from "Shifting" was one of tranquility, with little to shake the listener up or startle them from their comfort zone. Phenotract have done a good job of creating a dreamlike soundscape for the listener to escape into, but my worry is that like most dreams, you may not remember much of what happened.
Ultimately, whilst an enjoyable enough listen, there aren't many strong reasons to return to the album afterwards, with few stand out tracks, or songs that will get stuck in your head after the album is turned off.
If you are looking for an introspective piece of experimental electronica then you may have found the very artist in Phenotract, but if you are looking for synthpop anthems, you may be better served elsewhere.
6/10 - Recommended Tracks "Rise To The Surface" & "Separate Places"
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