Review Summary: You and I Will Never Die is a bloody good time.
In a lot of ways, You and I Will Never Die
is almost indistinguishable from The Birthday Massacre’s industrial-synth-pop amalgam; the high-gloss production, dark, synthetic trills, and KANGA’s haunted, ethereal croons make the connection an obvious one – even if KANGA’s execution is a shade bleaker. It would, however, be a disservice to solely point this out though, not just because the comparison is almost certainly incidental, but because there’s a lot more to unpack here that makes her stand out from her peers. KANGA’s influences are so obviously displayed on her sleeve; the balance of darkwave, trance, and 80s/90s pop and industrial are impressively pieced together, converging to form this thoroughly satisfying experience. You and I Will Never Die
’s fantastic production brings a Hollywood cinema vibe to the forefront of these tracks. Songs like “Moscow”, “Home” and “Say Goodbye” elicit a derivative, grimy EBM backdrop, but their inimitability stems from an aesthetic that echoes Nicolas Winding Refn’s fantastic thriller, Drive. Indeed, a lot of the vibe from Cliff Martinez’s score for Drive is rooted at the heart of this record. To put it more bluntly, You and I Will Never Die
takes on this kind of neo-industrial sound and makes it the middle-ground, while she fearlessly utilising ideas from retro mainstream pop music – ala Madonna – and the more modern synthwave craze akin to Perturbator.
The results are exhilarating, albeit not necessarily all that unique. However, the main reason it all works so well is because it’s the clever way in which KANGA pragmatically unifies her influences. Like Martinez’s score; there’s a dreamlike quality to You and I Will Never Die
which is authenticated by KANGA’s lullaby approach to vocals. The warbling electronics and synthetic drum snaps, coupled with KANGA’s penchant for softly elongating notes as she sings, creates this gossamer-like quality to the compositions. The central genius to the tracks here lies in their breeziness – a duality that is both intricate and elemental in execution. On the surface, songs sound simple and stripped down, but if you hone in on what’s actually going on, there’s a multi-layered tale being presented within each piece. If there was a criticism to be found here it’s that maybe KANGA recycles ideas a little too often, making the music come across homogenised on occasions. It’s not a glaring problem, but by the time you get to “Waiting” the feeling this could have been trimmed down to thirty-or-so-minutes is apparent. Still, after all is said and done, this is a fantastic album. Its cinematic presentation, cohesive neon-charged mood, and catchy pop-meets-NIN sensibilities make it a thrilling ride. If you’re looking for a sound that lakes around The Birthday Massacre ethos, a solid electro-pop album, or you’re just looking for something that languishes in the neo-80’s zeitgeist with a twist, You and I Will Never Die
will cater to your every need.