TEN SONGS (Black Flames)
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
As with Radio Berlin, who I reviewed earlier this month, Droom came from the uproarious Canadian indie hurricane they called aLUnARED, and have also settled upon more orderly music, pitching a perilous tent on the shifting plains of electro rock.
It’s electro songs (not merely tracks), with guts basically, right from the starting ‘Flowers’ where fiendish guitar flays the bass-substitute keyboards, both bolstering oblique vocal charm which might have you imagining a cross between Xymox and a populist Rosetta and you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
It all pounds rather than gyrates, because it’s a mature sound. There’s not much twinkling delicacy, or frantic club-drenched mania. Bleeps and doof barely register, because they have solid cross-currents whereby guitar and keyboard patterns splash against each other to ensure there’s rarely a dull moment, and it’s very, very lively.
On ‘Drown’ and ‘As If Alive’ they’re much softer, nicely despondent as the sorrowful voice moves like a spotlight across the grey waves. If anything, the songs remain a little too full, with their percussion restricting sensitive atmosphere. Fortunately they bounce back in ‘If’ like a supercharged Cure, sticky and sizzling. The nicely glowing guitar smoothes the kinks out of ‘Everything’, a wonderfully doomed romantic songs with beautiful lyrics, exquisitely moving and involving, and then they truly run rampant in ‘Asleep In Your Arms’ with a sharper beat, and a starker vocal delivery, which makes a nice change.
The problem with their sound is its fullness, which is relentless at times, and just a touch overbearing for the promise of some songs, and the vocal delivery barely alters in its approach throughout which means that both ‘The Record Company’(not the greatest song title, I think you’ll agree?) and ‘Surrender’ are simply what we have already heard , although the guitar in the latter does appear to be orgasming. After that things perk up again with a slow burner called ‘Lights’ which has more gaps in, thereby bringing respite and intensifying the effect when the guitar smashes back in later. A few more touches like that throughout the album would have accentuated many of their more obvious charms to create greater depth, but overall this is a modestly deployed stunner, seductive and highly satisfying.
You’ll have no complaints.