Mankind Is Obsolete -”Trapped Inside”
I had the pleasure of seeing Mankind is Obsolete live recently, so this review is going to be colored by seeing a really strong band play a really strong set. MKIO has been around since 2002, and has built a solid lineup, and rightfully touts itself as one of the hardest-working DIY bands on the circuit. They have the sheen of a band that’s been writing and playing together for some time. They tour relentlessly, and the work-ethic that makes this band such a fun band to see live comes across with no less clarity on a studio album. MKIO writes sincerely crafted pop-songs in and anthemic industrial rock vein: mixing ethereal electronoica with a indie/psychedelic rock guitar vibe. Guitarist Scott Landes is really pretty impressive on the album. You will hear things on this album you don’t often hear on an industrial album.
In an era where industrial music has traded sincere musicianship for predictable programming, this album is refreshing. MKIO is a band that’s more than just one member: the whole band shares the spotlight on the album. Singer Natasha’s voice is alternately haunting, plaintive and then menacing. It’s a combination that’s rich in contradictions, but it fits, and most importantly, it makes for an impressive album. “Awake” is a nice opener to the album, upbeat, with a driving chorus, and ends in a lovely piano interlude. “Picking the Scab” is an even better song. There’s a punkish snarl to the whole song, Landes drenches the song in feedback and drummer Jon Siren answers with great aggressive drumming. In contrast, “Trouble Dreams” opens almost like a Depeche Mode song, and then goes on to creates a lush sound-scape, pulling the listener into a hypnotic trance. Then, “Trapped Inside” pulls a bit from the Iron Maiden catalogue,with pounding drums and a harmonized guitar-line, this is a band that has some remarkable versatility.
As a whole, the album has a very rich sound, it’s very organic for electronic music. No single member of the band is responsible for this: this is the sound of a group of musicians working really well together. There’s a level of maturity and musical experimentation on the album that isn’t necessarily fashionable; nonetheless, it would be a shame to overlook MKIO just because there music doesn’t translate to dance-floor notoriety. It’s a very sincere album, and one, sincerly, you ought to listen to.
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