Synthpop lives! (If you can find it!)
David Parker | burlington, vermont United States | 03/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhh, I long for the days when the "hits" on the radio were by bands like Depeche, Tears for Fears, Talk Talk and Thompson Twins. The days of, for lack of a better term, "synth-pop". Now, radio and MTV is full of nothing but talentless, one-note "pop-punk", that even the kids who listen to it now will be sick of by this time next year. Sorry - I'm digressing! If you look hard enough, you can find bands who still extoll the virtues of songwriting, melody, atmosphere, and (gasp!) keyboards. They just happen to exist outside of the realm of American record companies, but they are out there. Perfect example, Germany's Camouflage. Sure, they are basically a Depeche clone (their last album "Sensor" was pretty much a recreation of DM's "Ultra") but that doesn't mean they aren't putting out excellent albums. This new one is a little less influenced by the Mode, but if strong hooks, synths, Gahan-like vocals and great songs is what you are after, these guys are at the top of the pile. Other excellent discoveries lately (for me, anyways): Iris, De/Vision, and in particular, what might be my favorite (and hardest to find, but you will if you look) "Ultimate Sky" by Michigan."
Another solid release
Ethan Straffin | Palo Alto, CA USA | 03/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ah, Camouflage. Still the best option for that guilty little part of you that wishes Depeche Mode could have just kept making "Violator" over and over and over again. Their UK friends Mesh do a better job of taking the basic dark-synthpop formula to new heights, but sometimes you just want to bask in the retro glow, and "Relocated" delivers in spades. The vocals in particular are superb, as is the production.
If I were to pick one criticism, it's that the singles here are almost too "singly." For instance, "The Pleasure Remains" really, really wants to be "Enjoy the Silence 2," but it doesn't quite have the chops.
Fortunately, the album tracks are there to pick up the slack. "The Perfect Key" is a nearly perfect ballad that shows off singer Marcus Meyn's low range to great effect. If I were female or gay, I'd be weak in the knees. (Might I suggest a dance remix, guys?) Meanwhile, "Dreaming" is a lot of fun, as is "Confusion," a swing-time number that stacks up well against Alphaville's goofier moments."
Call it 3 1/2 Stars
D. Smith | Winchester, VA United States | 11/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was less impressed with this CD than their last outing, "Sensor," which wowed me start to finish. Maybe it's because I discovered two groups (De/Vision and Iris) with a fresher sound, but this CD sounded less inspired than their last outing. Or maybe Marcus Meyn's creative interpretations of English just don't seem merely quirky anymore (as in pronouncing the first word in "Motif Sky" as if it were MOE-tif instead of moe-TEEF; and what the hell is a motif sky anyway?) It also seems like use up space for 2-3 songs every CD with what amounts to 60-90 seconds of Yanni-style experimentation. Sounds like filler to me.
Sorry I couldn't be more enthusiastic since I'm a long-time Camouflage supporter."