ALBUM A DIFFERENT DRUM, CYBERWARE RELEASE: APRIL 6, 1999 (USA), MAY 17, 1999 (EUROPE) REVIEW: JULY 5, 1999
Many electro bands tend to orientate towards a more "poppy" sound nowadays. I can't say I'm crying over it, being the synthpop nut that I am. For the Finnish duo Neuroactive, this is definitely a good thing. More space is given for Tuohimaa's sense of melody and production skills.
"Morphology", the EBM debut album, was rich of ideas and potential, but the band lacked the ability to fully realize them. A more mature, technopop based style became the hallmark of their follow-up "Phonic Trace" and some of the puzzle pieces fell into place, but things were still far from perfection.
"Fiber-optic Rhythm" is without doubt their best work so far, mainly because of the vocalist change. Even though he's no Martin Gore, he provides more credibility than the original singer did with his groaning. The voice of Karjalainen suits the hyper-electronic soundscapes of the 1999 Neuroactive better; synthpop with a techno/ambient feeling. Trying to pinpoint a distinctive style is very difficult, given the variation of the album. However, if you are to complain about something, it's the fact that the two best songs, "Visualise" and the title track feature guest vocalists.
But all in all, "Fiber-optic Rhythm", puts Finland on the electropop map. Some may want to go there.