Review Summary: Recommended for only those who can swim, because you may actually drown in the synths.
"Sad Lovers And What" The Giant Who" What's that" Oh yeah it's that one Joy Division song. What" It's not" It's a band" I've never heard of them..."
That is how every conversation regarding Sad Lovers And Giants would go, I assume. And you know what" Not too long ago, I was just like you, completely unknown of this band's existence. They are virtually unknown, lost in the world behind so many other Post Punk bands. Which is generally unfair, considering the talent they have/had. It's not like they were generic either, no not at all. In fact their particular brand of Dark Wave, Gothic Rock, Post Punk (insert cliche genre here) is quite original. I mean, it's not often you hear a saxaphone in a depressing gothic, synth driven track. Plus, their intricate guitar sections are actually very fresh and impressive. Not to mention the vocals in this record are something of their own. They of course follows the 80's path of over - enunciated words with melancholic delivery, but something about him is different. Maybe he's more sincere" Well he can't possibly be more sincere than the tear jerking likes of Ian Curtis and Robert Smith, so that may not be the only reason. Maybe it's his slow, almost effortless voice that painlessly guides you from track to track" Eh, sounds cool enough...
Feeding The Flame. What exactly are they talking about" Well, what could they be talking about" I'd like to imagine that they were quite unhappy while making the music here. So the music may possibly be about how life sucks and that everyday is a struggle between depressive thoughts and sombre moods that eventually "Feed" your overall agony. I believe that sounds very over dramatic and cliche. But hell, it sure does make the record more fun, or less fun for that matter to listen to.
The music here is interesting. The Album opener is a very tame, yet energetic number that succesfully sets up the entire mood of the album. The Grandiose synths lead you into a haunting yet rather dated guitar line that eventually stops just as abruptly as it began. Following that comes up the staple of the album's guitar really. Fastly palm muted high strings while ethereal sounds oscillate from ear to ear, confusing your benighted mind. A climbing bass line jumps in with the paper thin percussion and the song kicks off. "Imagination" features the most energetic and probably the best chorus on the album. It leaps from seamingly nowhere and lashes out with fury. The volume peaks as waves of synth and overdriven guitar pull out what little vigor the singer has. Plus the hook here is awesome, it makes for an almost radio friendly track, but don't get used to that. As stated above, the opener is the most energetic song here. Most of the album moves along at a dreamy pace with slow synths churning away at the airy atmosphere cluttered with quiet cymbal crashes and what have you. Track 2 is a rather poor example of this though. "Cowboys" is rather up-tempo, despite it's lazy and disorienting guitar driven intro. They lyrics here are silly and rather obvious making it one of the lesser songs, but still great nonetheless. It has some excellent musicianship and the bass line during the verses and well, most of the song is very well played and thought out, making it probably the best part of the song.
The album hits a great stride at track 3. Tracks 3 through 7 are all near masterpiece quality with breathtaking instrumentals plus clever lyrics, and it starts with my personal favorite, "3 Lines". Reverbed guitars dominate the song while massive washes of synth provide the perfect backdrop for the emotional lyrics. Some of the bass fills here are the best on the album, especially during the beginning. It's length is the only downfall to the song. Lasting for only 3 minutes, it could have easily stayed around for another minute or so. The Chorus is just beautiful, yet so simple. "Moving Closer, We Drift Apart". Truly Exceptional. The following track keeps the momentum going. "Big Tracks Little Tracks" is a more aggressive and strange number, opposed to the tracks proceeding it. Guitars caked with flange and reverb, stop and go, once again exercising their fast palm muted technique whilst stray notes echo and bounce around your brain. There is also a rather queer saxaphone breakdown towards the middle of the track (Now you wanna listen!). "On Another Day" is another dreary, celestial song. Warbly synths push along while the bass lazily drops lower and lower. The weak drums are the highlight of the song. Small changes in the rhythm add exceptional dynamics to the song especiialy in the "Stop and Go Section", a must listen. "Sleep is For Everyone" follows a more conventional path with it's catchy chorus and delighting melodies. Which of course raises the question, "why doesn't anyone know of these guys"". All of the qualities needed are here, and they execute them just as well as anyone else. The Riffs in "Sleep Is For Everyone" are nothing short of awesome really. Plus their usage of slow build ups to reach a climax go unmatched. This idea is preformed very well on the next track, "Vandetta". Bringing up memories of The Cure (Obviously), menacing sythns lead the song in, which slowly builds and builds into a lackadaisacal almost drugged out riff pushed achingly forward by a quirky, yet appropriate bassline. The Vocals are sparse, but the synths sure are not. They saved the best work for this song. As the pace remains the same, dreamy synths slowly yet abruptly swell into the song, making it a rather interesting listen.
Following the string of near perfect songs, the album drops off for quite awhile. Especially on "Close To The Sea". At this point in the album, the slowly picked chorus and reverb drenched guitars are exhausted along with the simple and subtle structures. Despite the songs attempts of bringing life to itself I believe it never fully does. It's still a great song on it's own, but in the context of the album, not so much. It's also a bit too long for it's own good. "Burning Beaches" is a creepy instremental that features sounds of an ocean washing around from ear to ear. The Eerie bassline crawls around the mix, toying wth the frail guitars and percussion. This track brings up memories of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. The gentle songwriting of "Your skin and mine" is a very nice touch to the disheartening songs as a whole. This song is not of course sunshine and flowers but the gentle acoustic guitar backed by keyboard and saxaphones seem to lighten up the mood a little. The final track is a synth laden monstrous finale to an already enormous project. The 6 minutes are stretched out to hold the final breaths of a miserable, almost dead group struggling to the finish line. For the first time in a while, the energy is back, which is of course nice to hear. It features grandiose keyboards and extensive layering that provides a vivid atmosphere to summarize the album almost effortlessly, but I'm almost certain it wasn't.
Feeding The Flame fades out and your left with silence. A suitable soundtrack for you after the album you just experienced. This record has such thin production, that it almost feels breakable, although that is of course impossible. As stated earlier, the drums are weak. Possibly the weakest drums I have ever heard. The cymbals sound incedibly small and the snare has little to no power behind it. You may think that this is a bad thing, but it's suprisingly not. It almost makes the album way better. There is certainly an atmosphere present on this entire album. A bleak, misty and mysterious aura that surrounds not only the record but the listener as well. Really, if you haven't heard this album yet, just do yourself a big favor and sit down alone in a dark room with your favorite headphones and give this a listen. You will not regret it.
Top Tracks (In No Order):
On Another Day
Sleep (Is For Everyone)