Greek synthpop act Blue Birds Refuse To Fly is the project of Kyriakos Poursanides. Their new album, which features George Dedes of The Illusion Fades on vocals, is a distinctly European blend of poppy dance numbers and gothic melodrama. At their best, Poursanides and Dedes are reminiscent of a more electronic blend of the Mission and Clan of Xymox, with emotive vocals and haunting yet club-friendly production. “House of Sex” stands out with its piano-driven melody and strummed guitar adornments. Dedes’s voice and lyrics on “Play With Me” are every bit as embarrassingly sincere as Wayne Hussey, and with its driving electronic beat the song is like an updated club mix of everything we hate to love about the Mission. The album’s faster numbers do not fare as well. The two instrumental dance pieces, “Lacrima De Balina” and “Quasi Stellar,” are nicely executed but bland progressive techno, and the trance-inspired “After Dark” just falls flat; though the song’s theremin sounds are an inspired vintage touch, the growled vocals hide Dedes’s distinctiveness in affectation. On the other hand, that very distinctiveness is what makes the album as a whole so hit-or-miss. When it works, it adds an extra note of drama of Poursanides’s arrangements, but when it doesn’t, his heavily accented baritone sounds corny, like a cross between Type O Negative’s Peter Steele and children’s cereal icon Count Chocula. “Strange Little Girl,” for example, should be a tender love song, but Dedes’s delivery makes it sound like a cheap come-on from Transylvanian pedophile. This isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot to like about Blue Birds Refuse To Fly, however. The songs are catchy to a fault, and the cutely weird electronic waltz of title track “Anapteroma,” reminiscent of nothing so much as the more playful instrumentals of the Legendary Pink Dots, ends the album on a charmingly eccentric note. Despite a few unsteady moments, this is a great album with enough modern musical sensibility to set it aside from the many ‘80s poseurs that flood the synthpop scene.
For more information, visit the band at http://www.decadancerecords.it/bluebirds/
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