The new album then... is a bit hit and miss for me, I’m afraid. The problem is that, as I mentioned way back in 2006, they appear to peddle the offcuts of Kraftwerk's weaker tracks at times. “The Beginning of the End” is one such track, which reminds me of too many things I’ve heard before.
This album does offer up some new directions though. “Inheritance” has a more contemporary feel to it, and is the least like anything I have heard from System before. It is slightly more uptempo and progressive, straddling the divide between Kraftwerk and more contemporary electronic music. “You Or Me (Nemesis)” woke me up too: it’s repetitive, yet insistent and definitely gets your feet tapping. I especially liked the laconic introduction of the lead key line.
There are just not enough bold tracks like these on this album though, and the voice synthesis now largely begins to annoy. “Common Sense” for example, would arguably be a better track without the voiceover. “True Loyalty” also suffers at the hands of those vocals, the emotion obviously trying to be shown through the vocal range of the synthetic voice rendering it cartoon-like and limp. Only really on “Supremacy” does the right balance between vocals and tunage appear to be made.
It is still impossible to try to review System without thinking Kraftwerk, though I feel that there is a pull on this album into different avenues. The vocals have outstayed their welcome - now, an instrumental System album perhaps, that’s an exciting proposition…