CD title: Alpha
Label: Life is Painful Records
Genre: Synthpop / Electro
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
Purchase Here: http://www.cylix.bigcartel.com/
Alpha is the debut release from the Greek Synthpop act, CYLiX. Formed in 2000 by DV/H and Plasma G, after the duo was inspired by acts such as Mesh, De/Vision, and Depeche Mode. In 2006, the duo added a live drummer named Harry, who took over as vocalist when DV/H left the act in 2008. Since then Plasma G and Harry have continued to hone their sound, while touring with acts such as Lights of Euphoria and Psyche. While the band has contributed songs to a variety of Synthpop compilations, Alpha is CYLiX's first full length album.
For fans of Synthpop and Electro acts such as Covenant, Mesh, and Culture Kultur, this album is going to be a must own. This reviewer dislikes using comparisons to other musical projects when reviewing a debut release, but Alpha makes that a bit difficult. When listening to the album its very clear where certain tracks drawn their inspiration from. For example, the opening track, So Much for Love, has soaring synths, a solid 4 to the Floor dance beat, and harmonic vocals which are very reminiscent of Beborn Beton, or Apoptygma Berzerk. Keine Zeit's synths have have that melancholy sound of De/Vision, backed up with Depeche Mode style percussion. Again this reviewer hates to use such comparisons, but Alpha is unashamedly transparent with its admiration for the bands that sparked its creation.
The upside to this however is that CYLiX's sound draws upon the best parts of all of theses inspirations. Imagine a Goth Club's typical Saturday Night playlist. De/Vision's painful “heart on sleeve” lyrics, Apop's energy, Mesh's synths, and Beborn Beton's soft and dark undertones. Mix them all together and put them all on one album. After the mid-2000's many veteran Synthpop acts started to experiment with their trademark sounds or broke up. Covenant took very brave steps with Skyshaper that left fans wondering if Northern Lights was their swan song. Apoptygma Berzerk turned almost into complete commercial Pop Music. Icon of Coil dissolved into different projects each with their own focus and sounds. De/Vision's lyrics suddenly started sounding hopeful and uplifting. Meanwhile dancefloors still play the songs from the past, in an attempt to retain that passion and keep the bodies on the floor. Cylix perfectly recaptures that energy and drive of the Electro/Goth scene before 2005 without sounding like a clone of any one band. A perfect patchwork of their inspirations.
Harry's vocals, are spot on whether unfiltered or layered with just the right amount of processing. Plasma G's synths and guitar work create perfect Synthpop gems. Another nice part to Alpha is that the sound is varied. So Much For Love was written to pack a dancefloor. As I previously mentioned, the soaring synths and hard beats are too hard to ignore. Deepest Fear's industrial beat, and layered vocals work for when the DJ wants to play something that its darker and harder but still needing to keep the floor going.
While CYLiX's sound is nothing original, it does bring back the best parts of the Synthpop/Electro scene of the early 2000's. Straight forward, easily fitting into a “typical” Friday/Saturday night setlist, and varied enough in its influences to make listening to the whole album an enjoyable experience. This reviewer does hope that CYLiX doesn't take another 10 years to make another album though. It would be far too long to wait to hear exactly what else this powerhouse duo can do.
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