I hadn’t realised that Milan was one of the epicentres of post punk and dark wave in the 1980s until I read the attachment that came with this. Well they recognise Joy Division and The Cure, and having heard this album I would add Billy Idol, OMD and Depeche Mode for good measure.
You will gather from my previous observation that there is an element of electro indie in this album. In a way, it takes me back to a simpler age. For sure it’s a piece of nostalgia. It’s nostalgic in that it has that dark, almost disinterested vocal delivery while wrapped in a bouncy electro song. This is the world of haircuts and MTV. The slightly flat vocals are buried in the constant beat. I’d reached the fourth song without hearing any sort of variation in the style. Luckily I quite liked this indie clang at the time and the goth tones of Clan of Xymox and co which seemed to supersede it. They are good songs without being distinguishable. It is claimed that there are “eerie moods and melancholic atmospheres” and it is only when we get to the slower fifth track “Does Anyone Know” that this claim is first realised. This one is dark but hardly devastating. Normal service is resumed on the upbeat “Love Is the Fear of What You Do”. “Why are you afraid of change?” is a lyric. The same could be said of the style of this album. Whilst the instrumentals are functional and reliable, the vocals sound careless on “Love Is the Fear of What I Do”. I think they’re meant to convey attitude but I can’t see that. The song itself is quite nice though and has a certain innocence about it. “Every Nothing” is a short edgy ballad and has the definite ring of The Cure. The singer’s questionable vocal talent is in evidence. The riff is pure 80s. It’s a punchy rock number but quite repetitive and aimless. The dark tones it conveys are carried forward into the more sinister and slower ”To Call Your Name Again”. I can’t call it spine-chilling and the vocals are still flat, but I did like the idea of the gang chorus and the atmosphere behind it. “CH811N” finishes the album and provided a different and welcome perspective with its electronic waves. It’s very reminiscent of Depeche Mode, I have to say, but a good atmospheric song and maybe proof that with the use of programmes and sounds Clone Culture could produce something really good.
There is a certain image behind this album. Clone Culture live up to their name and are effectively recreating something that happened 30 years ago. In parts it’s quite a nice album to listen to, and it’s a nostalgia trip but it’s not that interesting and certainly not original.
(5/10 Andrew Doherty)