ALBUM: Safe and Sound
LABEL: Electric Fantastic Sound
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Flux is the new project from former Neuroactive members Vesa Rainne and Ville Brusi, and with the addition of lead singer Asta, the trio have managed to incorporate a little of everything into their synthpop sound, from early electronic experimentalism to modern techno. Asta's voice keeps things melodic, especially on the bittersweet "Here We Go Again," a ballad which sees her voice floating ethereally above '70s-style synthesizer arpeggios, and "Sugar Child," which sees her voice adding a delicate counterbalance to the mechanized thumping of a house-flavored dance beat. The programming is as much a star here as the voice, though, and several tracks either dispense with vocals altogether or bury them in so many vocoder effects that they may as well be synthesized; "Stop Stop" is more techno track than pop song, and "Electric Woman" is a tribute to classic electro, all analog lines, breakbeats and robotic catchphrases. Asta is in fact featured on the album's most experimental offering, "Heaven of Our Own," but only at the end, as a sort of coda to the pulsing breakbeats and distorted electronic textures that make up the bulk of the piece. "No More Than Alive," on the other hand, takes a more organic approach, not only making Asta's voice the centerpiece but going so far as to use traditional instrument sounds like strings and piano. It's songs like that, as well as the heartfelt break-up song "Turn Back Time" with its soft keyboards and mournful vocals, that make this album accessible to more casual listeners. It's the purists, though, that seem to be the real audience for Flux's work, and fans of old-school synthpop will find a lot to love on this album.
For more information, visit the band on MySpace at www.myspace.com/fluxgem.
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