ALBUM: Death to Analog
LABEL: Metropolis Records
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
There's more than a little of Orgy in evidence on Julien-K's debut album, and that's no surprise; founding members Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh were part of that band before its dissolution, and fans of that particular brand of radio-friendly industrial rock will find much to enjoy here, from the gritty but tersely stylish cover of Romeo Void's "Never Say Never" to the crystalline synths and well-placed guitar hooks of "Look at U." There's a lot more to Julien-K's sound than the remnants of their previous work, though, and Shuck and Derakh integrate hints of everything from synthpop and techno to straight-up gothic rock. On the club side of things, title track "Death to Analog" starts off with thumping melodic techno in the vein of Underworld before launching into an industrial rock epic led by falsetto vocals, "Someday Soon" throws in some classic electro flavor with its funky beats and vocoder effects, and both "Systeme de Sexe" and closing track "Futura (DTA Mix)" are like electroclash gone evil with their looped porn moans, deliberately monotone bass lines and machine-like percussion. There are also plenty of nods to classic synthpop, as on "Disease." If rock's more your thing, there's "Kick the Bass," built around a ringing guitar phrase that immediately recalls The Sisters of Mercy's "Dominion/Mother Russia," and "Spiral," which temporarily ditches the devotion to digital with real (or at least realistic) drums propelling the rhythm instead of the usual digitized kicks. While Julien-K's crossover appeal might be a turn-off to some industrial purists, this is an accomplished and endearing debut that highlights Shuck and Derakh's diverse talents as writers, producers, and performers. Fans of dark but mainstream-accessible groups like HIM, Linkin Park, and Gravity Kills will especially enjoy this one, but any open-minded industrial fan with an ear for sharp pop hooks and exquisite production will appreciate what Julien-K have accomplished here.
Check out www.julien-k.com for more information.
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