Tuesday, 12th December 2017. 5:00:54pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Synthpop, New Wave Backlash- Heliotrope


Artist: Backlash
CD Title: Heliotrope
Label: WTII Records
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 4/30/06

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Swedish trio Backlash embrace the upbeat electronic aesthetic of classic '80s acts like the Pet Shop Boys without giving in to the overindulgences and slavish retro irony that ruins so much of today's synthpop. Lead singer Erik Torstennson's voice has the emotional range and gusto of Erasure's Andy Bell, but deeper and not as campy. Combined with modern production techniques and elegant electronic melodies, the result is gorgeous pop, like the glorious "Lodestar" or the classically bittersweet "Pin Me Down." There are a few moments that verge on the saccharine, with cheesy vocal processing on "Purity For A Sinner" committing the worst offenses, but both the album's ballads like "Wrench Of Parting" and its upbeat dance numbers like "Splinter" are lovely and bittersweet far more often than they are cloying or overwrought. "Hunt" is a particular favorite, with thumping four-on-the-floor beats that recall the sound of fellow Swedish band Covenant, and "Keep Throwing It Away" takes a theremin-like electronic wail and turns it into a dramatic orchestral arrangement. "Unconsciously Astray" is more subtle, with layers of vocal harmonies and melancholy pianos, while "Shiver" ends the disk with lush choral effects and sustained metallic keyboards. A must-have album for synthpop aficionados, Heliotrope is full of beauty, energy and, perhaps most importantly, originality. Thanks to WTII Records, it's finally available in the U.S. at a domestic price, so there's really no excuse not to pick this up.

Visit the band at www.backlashmedia.se.


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