Review Summary: The electronic duo make the appropriate changes to make their sound listenable, even enjoyable.
It seems here that Kap Bambino have cooled off the sound they overheated with 2008's obnoxiously feisty Zero Life Night Vision
. No really, you could go as far as to say their previous effort was volcanic: an explosion of sound that brought with it obfuscation and unwelcome panic. Come 2009, their "lava" has cooled and created solid ground in the process. Their sound hasn't changed that much, and, well, their little island isn't quite a slice of paradise either, but they take some of the right steps forward to at least stand on more sturdy ground. It's safe to say Kap Bambino's Blacklist
is a decent, enjoyable dance album that doesn't come second to inhaling sulfur.
As I said before, their sound remains largely the same, but on Blacklist
the French duo make some changes to make things much more listenable and stable. For one thing, vocals are now more audible and not shying behind the actual music. Caroline Martial's less-fuzzy makeover has more emphasis this time around, adding some balance to Bambino's sound. This is good because Martial has also improved with her singing voice. She has much more personality to her voice, dropping some of the bitchy, squirrely yelps for cleaner, legitimately appealing singing. She still predominantly shouts, but here she doesn't sound as monotonous or repetitive, showing some melodic twist to her shouts on "Dead Lazers" and "11:38". Outside of shouts you can hear slightly more docile stuff on "11:38" and "Blonde Roses", showing her range is a bit larger too. Her voice is much more listenable and effective this time around, but there are several times where her voice still falls a bit flat and sinks into that repetitive, pale area she swimmed in on Zero Life
Besides their songstress, Bambino's computer man Orion Bouvier takes some steps forward in the instrumental department. The electronic melodies that crutch Martial's voice have also acquired some flair. Blacklist
carries a darker tone than Zero Life
, and is a bit more moody too. Album closer "Acid Eyes" is paired with infectious, buzzy progressions and genuine emotion that shifts around a bit during the song's course, making for a dynamic album closer. The production fits more comfortably alongside Martial's voice as a more sturdy facet to their sound. Some spacey, astral qualities can even be picked up on tracks like "11:38" and "Dead Lazers". Bouvier doesn't excell at what he does, but he definitely does it better than he could before. Still, the album begins to run together a bit around the later half because he doesn't make the package too exciting or sophisticated.
They've matured and taken the appropriate steps to fix some of their issues, which is respectable and pays off with this album's catchiness and less obnoxious punk vibe. Sure, Martial still gets pretty annoying every now and then, and this can be pretty rough to sit all the way through for some (others won't make it past the second track), but she generally gives her voice more passion and it has an overall greater effect on the album. Blacklist
gives Kap Bambino some personality and, whereas they fell flat on their face with Zero Life
, is a pretty charming listen as well. It's not the most vibrant or exhilarating thing you'll hear, but it's an interesting album for people looking for rebellious dance music.