LABEL: Metropolis Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
On their first studio album since 2002, Informatik have made some pretty drastic expansions to their sound, simultaneously getting harder and softer by integrating industrial rock guitars and synthpop hooks with their earlier melodic EBM sound. Maybe this shouldn't be such a surprise; Tyler Newman has taken his own project, Battery Cage, through its own drastic evolutions, so it's only natural that some of that would cross over to his work with Da5id Din in Informatik. On this album, his guitars bring an organic crunch to the reverberating industrial beats of "Night and Day," while "Louder Than Words" even verges on gothic, the guitar wailing instead of chugging, and "Don't Be Afraid" is like nothing so much as The Cure's more atmospheric work, guitars shimmering over a tinkly synth for an effect that's dreamily hopeful. More impressive than the band's new shift toward rock is band founder Din's growth as a vocalist. For the past few years, Din's been plenty busy doing mastering and mixing for other bands in the scene, but apparently he's been just as busy working on his singing. This album sees him in fine form; on previous Informatik albums, he sang in an affected baritone that was more than effective for the band's songs about sex and computers, but here he shows a real range, emotionally as well as technically, from the melancholy "Nothing Greater" to the techno-flavored "Simple" to the modernist piano ballad "Temporary." While this album might come as something of a shock to fans expecting a rehash of earlier Informatik albums, the surprise should be a pleasant one; Din and Newman have reached a new creative pinnacle, breaking out of the genre prison and delivering a collection of surprisingly sensitive songs.
Check out Da5id and Tyler on MySpace at www.myspace.com/informatik to hear selections from the new album.
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