CD TITLE: Arena
LABEL: Metropolis Records
REVIEWER: Robert Eaton
DATE : 1-11-10
Informatik (da5in din, and Tyler Newman) produced a string of well-regarded “future-pop” albums, most notably 2002’s Nymphomatik. Songs like “Flesh Menagerie” and “A Matter of Time” became must-have DJ tracks, and their trance-influenced sound helped define a genre. No wonder 2008’s beyond was such a surprise: “Beyond” found Informatik mixing more rock elements, and 2009’s “Arena “cement’s the band’s change of direction. “Arena” finds the band in a new, comfortable and creative frame-of-mind. Also, Informatik pulls some impressive guests out for a studio album, including Claire Voyant and Synthetic Dream Foundation.
The album opens with “Come Together,” which was released earlier this year as a five-track CD single under that same name. The song is groove-heavy with a big anthemic chorus. The album’s smart melodies and big-rock sound characterizes much of what is on the album. The “Stadium” version of “A Matter of Time” lacks the dramatic vocal phrasing of the original. At first for someone familiar to the original it may seem this version is walked through. The sound builds slowly, to a rather moving take on the song in its final chorus. “Temporary” is dance-floor ready, lush and is Synthetic Dream Foundations remix contribution to the album. “The World Belongs to Us,” the album has lost some of its momentum: the song is comparatively tame synth-pop, and nothing else. “Entropy” hits the target a bit more, mixing a hard EBM bass figure with crunching guitars and a guitar solo. The strength of the song is in the mix of the earnestly delivered vocals with the other disparate parts of the song. “My True Love” and “Night and Day” are lush and melodic, both would sound like gold to a DJ’s ears, with the latter being one of the albums strongest songs. The album ends with a lurching soundscape, “The End,” which ends the album on a definite up-note.
As it often happens when a band attempts an ambitious change in musical direction, the album is decidedly hit-and-miss. Interestingly, the “miss” songs on the album are the less experimental, more straight-forward synth-pop/EBM tracks. The variety of the tracks mean the album is likely to appeal widely across sub-genres, but may leave any one person feeling dissatisfied about the album as a whole. Nonetheless, it’s a strong album, with some really great tracks. I guess an album doesn’t need to be consistent to be good.
Check out the band: http://www.myspace.com/informatik
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