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In a review a while ago, I called Victory Records a hardcore label - and I don't know, that's just what I've thought them to be, for some reason. Over the past (and following) few releases, they've shown me that there's a whole lot more to them - metal, glam-rock, power-pop, ska-punk... And, as Action Action shows, even synth-rock! Yes, we're talking synth music, something I have no frame of reference for - so popping this in my player was surely an interesting experience.
The lead instrument duties on this album are equally shared between guitars and synths (on some tracks the guitars are more dominant, and vice versa), giving the band quite an original sound. They play pretty simple pop-rock songs, elevated by the tasteful instrumentation and the catchy melodies. While this does at times remind me of bands like Depeche Mode, there are a few clear differences - one being the vocals. While synth vocals (this may just be my prejudice though) tend to be whiney and high-pitched, I like the vocals on this album. They are, in fact, one of the strongest points - emotional, precise and at times intense. Just good. Which I like.
Most of this album stays pretty down-tempo and low-key - though they do rock out a good number of times. Worth a notice is "Don't Cut Your Fabric", at the end of the album, which is a sped-up version of intro track "This Year's Fashion" (see how they tie the album title together there?) - both tracks are good, and the different versions are cool. At 13 songs on the album, it doesn't even seem like they're just trying to fill up the album.
As I mentioned, the album is sort of split between being synth-driven and being guitar-driven. I like the guitar tracks (or rather, parts of tracks, as they often switch mid-song) a bit more - I suppose it's the traditionalist in me - and the quirky electronic melodies behind the guitars work excellently on those parts. Songs like "Photograph" and "Instructions on Building a Model Airplane" are good examples of this - strong pop-songs with driving guitar and cool synth lines (more so on "Photograph" than "Instructions..."). The few ballads the band plays are pretty cute too - "Four Piece Jigsaw Puzzle", "A Simple Question" and "Basic Tiny Fragments" (the two latter being interrupted by guitar outbursts for some variety).
"Don't Cut Your Fabric to This Year's Fashion" is a collection of strong pop songs, all pretty diversely arranged, with a sound of their own. Plus for the strong vocals, and the cool melodies. But when push comes to shove, this isn't really my kind of music. It's a bit too poppy for me, and it's a bit too electronic for me. However, if you're a pop-punk fan looking for something refreshing, or a synth-pop fan looking for something energetic, I'd really suggest you check out Action Action - I'm actually interested in listening some more to them!