Artist: X- Marks the Pedwalk
CD title: The Sun, The Cold, and My Underwater Fear
Label: Metropolis Records
Genre: Industrial, Synthpop
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
When reviewing a band with a massive history,like X- Marks the Pedwalk, I have to decide if I want to focus on comparing the new release to their discography, or just delve into the current release and hope that my review will not only inspire readers to pick up the new work but also check out the old. After 2 weeks of listening to the new X- Marks the Pedwalk and trying to hold it up to their past work, I have given up on trying to present a cohesive idea of what XMTP is about, and instead want to tell you all why this is a must buy album.
The Sun, The Cold, and My Underwater Fear is X-Marks the Pedwalk's 7th full-length album, and while I would like to say it is their best to date, that wouldn't be fair to the previous 6 releases and various side projects that Severen Ni-Arb, Raive Yarx, and Estefania have done over the years. While I've always enjoyed XMTP, I never knew just how many albums and songs I've had in my collection of their various side projects. Ringtailed Snorter, Hyperdex-1 Sect, PAX, U-Tek, and more. The reach of the band is so impressive its almost impossible to stumble upon some EBM or Industrial music that hasn't been inspired by or directly influenced by these artists. So its hard to just say that this is hands down their best album, but I will say this is probably the most memorable.
The cover art alone tells you what to expect. The image of a rusted statue underwater with outstretched arms as the sun shines down on the lone figure. The majority of the CD seems built around this lonesome but tranquil image. The sensation of drowning, looking up and seeing only watery light above you. The synthesizers, beats, and vocals all seem to emulate the movements of underwater currents. One moment you're just soaking in the gentle back and forth motions of “Your Are Gone” or the title track, “The Sun, The Cold, My Underwater Fear”, and the next you're being violently whipped about with the faster currents of “The Day I Start to Die” or “Run Run Mary”. The entire time there is a thick atmosphere that carries over from track to track that seems to separate the listener from the light that shines down from the surface.
I don't want to make this seem like a concept album. I really get the impression that it is not, but it is hard to ignore this connection of the ocean on all of the songs. I also love the diversity presented here. New listeners get to experience some of the best of what XMTP has to offer as well as elements of some of their side projects. There are the hard hitting club tracks, reminiscent of “Facer” like “Run Run Mary”, “The Side of the Wrong”, and “Don't Lie to Me” which all have solid beats, and smooth sounding synths. Then there are the more tranquil tracks which make the album a joy to listen to in the quiet times. “Nightfall”, “You Are Gone”, and the instrumental, “AICSIN”. Then there are the tracks that straddle the that dance and chill-out line like “MKK.2”.
It is very rare that I have no complaints about an album. Usually there are one or two songs that don't feel like they fit in, or some aspect of the production feels off, but The Sun, The Cold, and My Underwater Fear is flawless from start to finish. Like the drowned statue on the cover you are subjected to the many moods and tempers of the music as it is presented to you, and the best thing you can do is just let it wash over you. If you want a good starting point for XMTP, this is the album for you. And I do recommend that you start digging backwards through their discography from here. You will not be disappointed.
5 out of 5 Stars.
Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Qet0J6JaA
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