ALBUM ACCESSION RELEASE: MAY,
2001 REVIEW: JUNE 18, 2001
The debut by the one-man project Assemblage 23 was a good album indeed,
with dance hits like "Purgatory" and "Anthem". Tom Shear has been working
hard ever since and the result is this, the new album "Failure". And what
a step forward it is! The song writing, lyrics and production all have
been taken leap and bounds ahead of the previous release.
Lyric wise there is a lot of pain and anguish, which may not be that strange
since the album is dedicated to Tom's father who took his own life on
October 28 1999. A lot of the songs seem to be about just that; how
Tom reacted to and tries to handle it. For example, in the excellent
dance smasher "Disappoint" he sings, "Did I disappoint you? / Did I let
you down? / Did I stand on the shore / And watch you as you drowned?".
There hasn't been a record in a long
time with such good and intelligent lyrics in combination with this kind
of catchy melodies on top of hard beats and whirling synthesizers. Tom's
voice is also impressive, and often he sings without effects.
There are no filler tracks to be found, whether it's full-on dance mania
or a bit slower and moody like "Longevity", a really groovy track where
Tom seems to finally come at peace with his father's decision.
Some people say this album sounds like VNV Nation (another similar band with
good lyrics), but I think it stands on its own, with a typical Assemblage
23 sound. If you like the new breed of body pop you should definitely buy
this one, because it's at the top of the genre. Hmm, then again, you should
buy it anyway.