I feel slightly awkward writing a review for an album that came out 7 years ago but someone played their cdís for me and I really enjoyed them. Now I plan to do this review song by song but Iíd like to get a few key elements out of the way so I donít bog down the rest of it by repeating myself. I would also like to point out that this is my first review and will no doubt need to improve my skills in other reviews to come, so please be as truthful as possible which shouldnít be hard for anyone.
Firstly, the lyrics on this album, and in fact all IME albums, are enigmatic and just downright weird. I imagine it was more like they were trying to find words to make the vocals flow rather than make sense.
Secondly, in regards to the singing I believe Byrne is far better suited for IME than Edwin. Byrne has a versatility, a wholeness, that surpasses Edwinís grating and sometimes obnoxious vocals. ( I was also told that Edwin became part of Blue Man Group, which is pure ***e but it seems funny to me and I canít figure out why).
Lastly, the bass on this album can get repetitive in a number of the songs, not to say it makes it sound bad but it can make listening to those songs difficult after a period of time, which can put off some people if theyíre not really into IME.
Love Your Starfish: Great intro, high pitched siren-like guitar sound with a chunky bass coming in with the drums, guitar sound leaves about the time when the singing comes in then screeches in 10 secs later. The verse has a heavier guitar which is good but it cuts out the bass a little and the singing is promising but there are a few moments where it loses momentum. 3.5/5
All Awake: Havenít figured out if the intro is bongos but itís still a nice sound, softer than the first song but it picks up nicely. Guitar goes from a bubbly wah effect to heavy and then back. In the harder parts the drumming is phenomenal but good throughout. Thereís a quiet moment where Byrne is almost whispering and then just lets out with ďSHUT YOUR MOUTH" and goes right back into the song. 4/5
Gargantua: An almost acoustic sounding start, hangs around for the verse until the drum comes thumping in and itís all electric. Love the chorus, guitar and bass work beautifully here. Basically song goes on repeat until the solo riff near the end. 4/5
When Did You Get Back From Mars: Acoustic and a subtle trilling electric intro, basic drumming throughout, very smooth and simple song, even in the harder parts itís still fairly even toned with the rest of the song. 3/5
Summertime In The Void: One of the singles, also the longest on the cd. This is the best example of Christianís drumming, but they had to dub over with the extra tom/bongos, still flows sublimely together though. This is also a prime example of the repetitive bass line, luckily the eclectic guitar playing compensates and completes the song. 4/5
Good For Sule: Probably one of the quietest songs on the album. Lots of effects, acoustic guitar and low bass drum pushing through the entire song. The singing is what makes this song shine, clearly showing Byrneís ability to do more than just belt out heavy notes. The drums rise fittingly through while you hear more piano and Byrne sings and holds ďGood for you Sule, oh oh ooooh yeeeah". Ends with a quiet bongo, easing out of the song. 4.5/5
Cloud Pump: One of the catchiest songs I ever heard. A rich, humming guitar makes this song superb and another showcase of Byrneís versatility as well. Describing this song is like describing the ocean to a blind person, but you should listen to it yourself and make up your own mind, I just love it, sorry. 5/5
Blacksox: Pinching guitar intro, sounds like a kazoo in other parts. Drumming waaaaay to weak for what could have been done with this song. Byrne sounds whiny, this song doesnít start getting good until about 3 minutes into it but the solo doesnít help it much. The end of this song is powerful and almost makes the beginning worth listening to, but then again.... 2.5/5
Autumn On Drugs: A sombre, but lilting song, compared to the other songs it seems more like filler. The only song that gives a clear impression of a story, seems to be a bout leaving your life behind and how we miss those we leave behind. Very dispiriting tone, picks up magnificently near the end and dies out with a piano playing. This would have been a better song to finish the album. 3.5/5
Infinity Machine: Energetic song, straight guitar sounds, drumming is quick and vigorous. Thereís a break with Spanish (or possibly Portuguese, Iím not a translator or a linguist, sorry), followed by a shrieking guitar solo. Song pounds out until the end. 4/5
My Beautiful Deep End: Iíve heard this is the only song on the album written by Byrne, but itís difficult to see the difference. Byrneís vocals have an underwater effect, guitar is low but wails nicely over the acoustic. This song also has some noticeable background effects playing along. There is a portion where Byrne almost hums over the instrumental which is eerie but graceful, then ends with one song line and a vibrating guitar. 4/5
The main problem with this album is the fluidity, the way the songs are arranged is atrocious, individually the songs are great but on a whole it needs some retooling. In the end this album gets a 4/5, Blacksox brought it down a peg and the whole album needed to flow better.