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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ready Never

Eleutherophobia

Review by Gary Hill

This set is essentially electronic dance music, but there is a decent range to it beyond that. It’s marred by one thing, though. Many of the vocals are over-processed with autotune or some similar technology. That’s an annoying element and one that will ultimately probably make this feel very dated very soon.  I say that because these days there is quite a real negative response to vocals like that in the public that seems to be growing. I’ve talked to musicians, music fans and critics and there is really a rising backlash against that kind of processing on vocals. In fact, I’ve talked to people who review this type of music specifically who say that once they hear that, they shut it off and don’t even bother with it. I know that was the sound that was all the rage for a while. It’s nearing its extinction point and groups who still embrace it are going to have to fight hard to keep from heading down that same trail. The thing is, it’s really a shame here because if you take that element away, this is a great set for its style. I’d like to see these guys continue. They just need to get beyond the fad of processed vocals. They are better than that.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Assistant Press Play

An electronic music vibe brings this one into being. That sound is augmented by more layers as it continues. The lead vocal is sort of soulful one, but there are other vocals that are processed using autotune or something like that. Still, this is catchy and energetic. Some of the musical layers are lush and quite pretty. I’d almost consider parts of this near to progressive rock.

Casualties
Although this has some of that manipulated vocal vibe, it’s not so overpowering here and actually works. There is almost a reggae vibe to some of this. A catchy piece, this is one of the best numbers here.
Take that Pill
I love the high energy electronic dance music vibe on this one. I’m not crazy about some of the processed vocals, though. That said, there are some powerful sung vocals that work better.
My Eye Know Might
This one is more of a pure electronic dance sound. It’s got a lot of energy and the processed vocals aren’t really a big deal here.
Eleutherophobia
Probably my favorite cut here, this instrumental reminds me a lot of Kraftwerk. It’s quite a tasty tune.
Be My Lover Again
The music here is even more electronic. The vocals are closer to a hip hop sort of sound. It’s still got a lot of that processed vocal sound, though. That really mars an otherwise quite cool tune. I really wish they’d left well enough alone. This would have been so much better. There’s a particularly annoying part where a sung note is electronically held for a long time. I really just wanted to stop the song right there and walk away.
Tell Me
The vocals on this are processed to death. For me, it means “skip this track by all means.” This is the worst thing here. What a disaster.
Future Retro
We get another highlight of the set here. This is another instrumental. I love the stop and start concept at the beginning. Additionally, it’s got tons of energy and really grooves.
Me Myself and I (Feat. DJ Mendez)
On the one hand, this has a lot of energy. I also love the rap here. It should be mentioned that the rap earns this a parental advisory, I think. The only problem here is the one that’s common on this set, the processed vocals. Still, this manages to rise quite high despite that.
Victim of Vice
The closing piece is another instrumental. It’s also another highlight. It has a cool, somewhat twisted vibe to it. I like this one a lot.
 
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