Review Summary: Mind.In.A.Box attempt to evolve, but fail to step outside of the box they've closed themselves in with previous releases.
Mind.In.A.Box have been releasing their own auto-tuned brand of delightful future/synth pop since 2004, and at a steady rate the quartet have been putting out their decidedly conceptual albums. Fast forward to the present and we're left with Revelations
, and the story now spanning five albums is close to being closed; ironically this closure is one of mixed results.
From the initial impressions Revelations
is more downtrodden than it's predecessors. Conceptually this makes sense, as the futuristic tale of mental imprisonment and science fiction was never the happiest of settings to begin with. Musically this means the listener is treated to a few more ambient and atmospheric tracks than they might be ready for, and the low key vocal direction on many tracks doesn't help in this department. Unluckily this initial assessment holds true, pulling the listener down with it.
For those who fondly remember the bands hit “Amnesia” and the way the vocals helped the song coalesce into a futuristic whole Revelations
contains only a few moments that will recall that nostalgia. Most notable of these is “Unknown,” starting off with a really expansive synth line reverberating around the speakers before the vocals kick in. The band really knows how to solidify all it's elements as a whole; from the lyrical direction about uncertainty to the expansive electronic elements, adding to the songs feeling of loss, hope, and misdirection. “Unknown” stands out because it takes what gave the band recognition in their early days and polishes it to a gorgeous shine, showing how the group have grown. Once this level of dedication appears it becomes hard to look at the album in the same light, leaving the listener at a crossroads.
The issue with Revelations
is one of contrast; on one hand are the bands more powerful moments such as the ending of “Remember,” the beat heavy beginning of “Cause and Effect” and the aforementioned “Unknown.” The other hand holds the rest of the album, a decidedly quiet affair that makes up for its lack of musical power with the lyrical tale being told. This duality makes Revelations
very hard to sit through, as one moment the lines to “Cause and Effect” are stuck in the audience's mind until the realization that four other songs have passed without them noticing. The choice between the more energetic sections and the story elements is one that should have never came up, as many a masterful story has been told by other groups while avoiding this pitfall.
Mind.In.A.Box lives on it's uniqueness, and to have released so many well received albums is a wonder for a group in their sound niche. The latest album is definitely more of what fans have come to expect, but it seems to go back and forth between trying to ride on its musical qualities and the concept behind it. New fans will more than likely be disappointed with Revelations
, while old listeners will welcome the chance to hear the tale finally come to some semblance of finality. Revelations
isn't bad, but neither is it a step in the right direction; Mind.In.A.Box is better than this.