Desdemona - Endorphins
Electrorock, Electropunk The Polish project Desdemona present their fourth album 'Endorphins' amid a confusing mass of genre definitions within the accompanying promotional material. A band capable of opening for VNV Nation, Type O Negative and Deine Lakaien must have some interesting stylistic hybrids up their sleeves, mustn't they? Either that or they're short of viable opening bands in Poland. For once, I had no idea what to expect from this album before I scrolled through my iPod 'Albums' list and gave it a run-through.

Things initially seem quite promising - "Bring It All" is a nice combination of chugging riffs, snaring female vocals and blunt synth melodies. "desDREAM" sees the aggression level creep up a notch, the guitar more cutting, the vocal style varying from softly-sung to punky shouting and an assortment of electronic styles somehow coming together to form a seething electro-rock composition, not dissimilar to the stronger Angelspit tracks.

But it's strength of depth on which such albums are scored, and the interest level begins to slip with "Poison". It tries to build from a slow, menacing synth buzz (with added blippy bits) into a crushing riff-o-rama, but the song doesn't quite pull off the build-and-release dynamic as well as it needs to - there's just something wrong with the subtlety of the composition that means the track as the whole doesn't have the impact you think it should.

"Jealous Sky" is a more straightforward electronic punk rocker, wobbling slightly in it's opening phase, but a strong, raging chorus and a consistent underlying sense of energy rescues the track as a whole. But the slide resumes with "Devil's Game" - a brutal in-yer-face riff tries and fails to mate with a complex shower of synthetic noodling, and then throws in a middle-eight which resembles something from an early-00s electro-goth collective. So many concepts at play, but they struggle to make them work together sometimes!

Next is "Sorrow", which again tries to mix two immiscible elements - sombre piano/strings and IDM-style breakbeats. The song actually sounds like it might have worked during the phases where they lay off the drums, so why didn't they do that all the way through? The bizarre stylistic combinations continue with "Let's Play Love", an promising mid-tempo stomp with a chiptune-style synthlead, though it occasionally drowns itself in it's own aggression. "In Flames" follows similar lines, but this time the actual song is rather too turgid and a minute too long for it's own good.

And then comes "Euphoria", and my personal anathema of the moment, yet also the darling of most other critics. Dubstep. It may be flavour of the month in the music industry, but I see it as both the musical equivalent of an invasive species (there's no escape - even Side-Line are covering it these days!) and an incredible irritating fad that I sincerely hope will be passée come 2013. What annoys me is this song actually sounded like it might have had a climatic, rousing chorus. But the wobble bass ruins it all.

Oddly enough, the albums final track "XXX" proves to be surprisingly sound, the synth clicks, Ministry-grade riffs and vocal layering see the album out on a high. But it was still a rough journey. It's admirable to see a band try to break down the genre barriers and go for a real crossover sound, but the disparate elements have to be made to play nicely together, and you still need some decent, old-fashioned songwriting at the core. Desdemona, for all their efforts, fall short more often than not.
3
Brutal Resonance

Desdemona - Endorphins

5.0
"Mediocre"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2012 by Danse Macabre
The Polish project Desdemona present their fourth album 'Endorphins' amid a confusing mass of genre definitions within the accompanying promotional material. A band capable of opening for VNV Nation, Type O Negative and Deine Lakaien must have some interesting stylistic hybrids up their sleeves, mustn't they? Either that or they're short of viable opening bands in Poland. For once, I had no idea what to expect from this album before I scrolled through my iPod 'Albums' list and gave it a run-through.

Things initially seem quite promising - "Bring It All" is a nice combination of chugging riffs, snaring female vocals and blunt synth melodies. "desDREAM" sees the aggression level creep up a notch, the guitar more cutting, the vocal style varying from softly-sung to punky shouting and an assortment of electronic styles somehow coming together to form a seething electro-rock composition, not dissimilar to the stronger Angelspit tracks.

But it's strength of depth on which such albums are scored, and the interest level begins to slip with "Poison". It tries to build from a slow, menacing synth buzz (with added blippy bits) into a crushing riff-o-rama, but the song doesn't quite pull off the build-and-release dynamic as well as it needs to - there's just something wrong with the subtlety of the composition that means the track as the whole doesn't have the impact you think it should.

"Jealous Sky" is a more straightforward electronic punk rocker, wobbling slightly in it's opening phase, but a strong, raging chorus and a consistent underlying sense of energy rescues the track as a whole. But the slide resumes with "Devil's Game" - a brutal in-yer-face riff tries and fails to mate with a complex shower of synthetic noodling, and then throws in a middle-eight which resembles something from an early-00s electro-goth collective. So many concepts at play, but they struggle to make them work together sometimes!

Next is "Sorrow", which again tries to mix two immiscible elements - sombre piano/strings and IDM-style breakbeats. The song actually sounds like it might have worked during the phases where they lay off the drums, so why didn't they do that all the way through? The bizarre stylistic combinations continue with "Let's Play Love", an promising mid-tempo stomp with a chiptune-style synthlead, though it occasionally drowns itself in it's own aggression. "In Flames" follows similar lines, but this time the actual song is rather too turgid and a minute too long for it's own good.

And then comes "Euphoria", and my personal anathema of the moment, yet also the darling of most other critics. Dubstep. It may be flavour of the month in the music industry, but I see it as both the musical equivalent of an invasive species (there's no escape - even Side-Line are covering it these days!) and an incredible irritating fad that I sincerely hope will be passée come 2013. What annoys me is this song actually sounded like it might have had a climatic, rousing chorus. But the wobble bass ruins it all.

Oddly enough, the albums final track "XXX" proves to be surprisingly sound, the synth clicks, Ministry-grade riffs and vocal layering see the album out on a high. But it was still a rough journey. It's admirable to see a band try to break down the genre barriers and go for a real crossover sound, but the disparate elements have to be made to play nicely together, and you still need some decent, old-fashioned songwriting at the core. Desdemona, for all their efforts, fall short more often than not. Sep 14 2012

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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