ALBUM HARD:DRIVE, WEA, SSC, PLAYGROUND,
METROPOLIS RELEASE: FEBRUARY 25, 2002 REVIEW: MARCH
Groth and his cohorts have been getting closer to mainstream pop with
each release. And this album sees that trend continue. Many will of course
dislike this, thinking the band is selling out or "leaving the underground",
but I get the impression this is the kind of music Stephan really wants
to make. Even the first Apoptygma Berzerk album "Soli Deo Gloria"
offred a lot of singable tunes and danceable rhythms. So this is not new.
a short intro, the album kicks off with a real happy techno stomper of
a track, namely "Suffer in Silence". This is a track destined
to put a satisfied grin on most faces, and a twitch in most people's legs.
Other catchy songs follow, such as "Unicorn" and "Spindizzy",
both with underlying EBM bass lines and four on the floor beats. The semi-instrumental
"OK Amp, Let Me Out" is good too, consisting of a monotonous
backing track with synth stabs on top.
big problem with both the last album "Welcome to Earth" and
this one is the amount of filler tracks on display. Too many tracks just
don't seem to have any purpose, and just slumbers along aimlessly. Another
problem is the overall sound of the album. It's hard to pinpoint, but
the songs sometimes sound thin, lacking the heaviness and strength needed
for hard dance techno of high quality.
I guess this might be attributed somewhat to the fact that they have used
an outside producer, namely Alon Cohen who has worked with artists like
The Cardigans, Ice T and 98 Degrees. Perhaps not an obvious choice, and
it might have been better to choose another one from at least a connecting
genre, even though I applaud APB for trying to find new ways of expressing
themselves. Other collaborators on the album are Ladytron, Covenant, Echo
Image, Sweep and Claudia Brücken.
latest single "Until the End of the World" is pretty decent
and definitely got some sing-a-long qualities, but gives me a certain
E-Type (Swedish chewing-gum techno artist) feeling I cannot really shake
off. This particular track is produced by Dan Frampton, who has worked
with Westlife, Steps and Lionel Richie.
To finish this review off, I will just say that this is a good album,
not great, and we see the band further establishing its own sound.