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Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Surviving the Odyssey- Black and Blue Restoration


ARTIST: Surviving the Odyssey

ALBUM: Black and Blue Restoration

LABEL: ARTifactual ARTifice

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 3-1-09

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Surviving the Odyssey's eclectic blend of gothic, rock, and synthpop elements makes for a fascinating sound, and there's no denying the Pennsylvania-based trio's creativity, but their second album is marred by uneven production. Instrumental intro track "Corpus Callosum" starts things off with some appealingly old-school electro sequences, but as soon as the vocals kick in on "Uranium" the album's flaws begin to present themselves, with female vocalist Indigo's singing so buried in the mix it's impossible to tell what she's saying or even whether or not she's hitting the right notes. As the album progresses, the latter question is answered with a noncommittal "some of the time." On "Stilts" and "Moody Variations," she's expressive, soulful even, and her voice imbues the understated synths and guitar arpeggios of "Cryogenic Evergreen" with a delicate prettiness. On "Something of a Feeling," she even brings a throatiness that recalls a less androgynous Alison Moyet. On the other hand, "Majestic Opera" starts off pretty but veers wildly off-key, and the spoken word vocals of "Plasma Etchings" come off as both amateurish and overly affected. Still, there's a sense of playful experimentation and goofy enthusiasm throughout this album, not only on the darkly perky tracks like "Influx" but even on the moodier trip-hop offerings like "Grieve," that makes Surviving the Odyssey hard to resist even when their experiments yield poor results, and the album ends on a definite high note: closing track "Topographical Dimensions" is the CD's richest-sounding offering, with thick, high-pitched guitars coating the mellow electronic rhythm with dreamy atmosphere as Indigo's voice floats overhead in sensuous layers. It's a pretty clear indication of what Surviving the Odyssey are capable of, and if they don't quite reach their full potential on this release, they at least make some interesting detours along the way.

Visit the band's website at www.stoband.net.


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