Top positive review
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Not their best, but by no means a terrible album
on 1 November 2012
This year has been a fantastic year for music; Julien-K released their long-awaited 2nd album, Celldweller's 9 years in the making album finally came out and now The Birthday Massacre are back with their 5th full-length album. According to several interviews, the album was described by the band as being lyrically `darker' than previous records. Chibi's fascination with unsolved murder mysteries played a part in the album's creation too. But is the music any good?
1. "Leaving Tonight"
Previous album openers have often had quite a build up that crashes to a heavy rock track, this one however is a very different kettle of fish. Chibi starts singing very soon into the song and the beat stays the same mid-tempo feel until the 2nd half. It's very reminiscing of their early work, and the constant use of 'I want to go home' rings the theme of the album nicely from the start. May not light any fires upon first listen but it grows on you with repeated listens.
This was the first song the band released to the public so it's had more of a chance for repeated listens; so at the moment it's one of my favourite album tracks. It blasts the guitars early on but then slows down for the verseswhere Chibi sings so sweetly...until she growls all over the bridge. Yes her growling is back, it does sound very different from previous tracks she's growled on (because vocalist Chibi had developed polyps, so had to sing differently for the album) but it only adds to the brilliant track. The lyrics describe a relationship doomed from the start and every word used paints the picture perfectly.
3. "Play with Fire"
3rd track in and the music takes a much sinister tone, Chibi's uses a more breathy vocal here to heighten the tension and darkness of the song, I especially love towards the end when she whispers the 'fire' lyric. There aren't many lyrics here but it's the vocal delivery and keyboards that sell the deliciously dark track. It's quite different to what they've done before and it's one of my favourites on the album.
Track 4 carries the sinister tone of the previous track but goes for a more rocky sound. As the title suggests the song is about an unrequited love that the singer just doesn't want to let go; although the lyrics are great I felt something was lacking in the music. It doesn't build up enough and never really reaches the climax I think the song needed, and although Chibi sells the desperation in the chorus I wanted there to be more backing vocals to sell her 'need'.
Track 5 reminds me of 'Science' or 'Shiver' in that it has a repetitive beat, almost dancing aspect to the song with very striking lyrics. The music is great, the chorus is catchy and the lyrics paint a picture as the song goes on. It does end rather abruptly but it's a still great track.
Getting back to the dark side of the album, 'Alibis' is a slower track that maintains it's creepy atmosphere thanks to the keyboards. Chibi takes centre stage here; her whispery vocals during the verses switching to more authoritative tone during the chorus really works, and the lyrics are great too. This track will most likely get lost in the rest of their discography but it is a decent song.
7. "One Promise"
Guitars greet us at the very top of the track before Chibi takes on a more 'child-like' singing here, and with lyrics such as 'making sure the toys are put away' it works nicely. Admittedly it sounds quite similar to previous tracks such as `Midnight' and `Walking with Strangers' but my favourite part is the darker build up towards the end as it reminds me of their 'Violet' album immensely. I can see this track being popular during their upcoming gigs.
8. "In this Moment"
You're likely to be reminded of 'To Die For' here as rain drops/water sounds top and tail this track, but 'In the Moment' is not the same as 'To Die For' at all sadly. I love Chibi's beautiful vocals during the verses, and the lyrics paint a fairy tale picture that The Birthday Massacre excel at, however the song sort of loses its identity towards the chorus. Chibi still sounds great but the chorus is rather forgettable which is a shame. I hope this song grows on me more.
9. "Cover My Eyes"
The drum machine really sets the tone of this song apart from the rest of the album; Chibi's 'fascination with unsolved murder mysteries' obviously comes into play here and this is by far her strongest vocal performance on the album. From the ethereal vocals, the stunningly dark lyrics and the music being very restraint at the start, building up the mystery and tension as the song goes on without letting go or going over the top is all done perfectly. One of the best songs on the album and they have ever done.
10. "The Long Way Home"
On one hand this track is too short and sounds like an extension of the previous song. One the other hand the multi-layered vocals are very haunting and beautifully done that I can't help but be completely drawn into this song and feel sad when it suddenly cuts and ends the album.
There's no denying that there are some great highlight tracks here, and despite the struggles the band faced with recording this album it still sounds great, they should be very proud of themselves. However I do not feel as attached to this album like I have done with previous albums. With 'Violet', 'Walking with Strangers' and 'Pin and Needles' I immediately loved them upon first listen, even if I didn't loved every track, as a whole album body I completely feel for them hook, line and sinker. Although I have stated before their songs are 'growers', with 'Hide and Seek' I feel I need more listens and time before I can get fully on board with it. Also, 'Hide and Seek' is the shortest album in their discography so far, as a result the songs breeze by rather quickly. However they've released at least 1 album or single every year for the past 3 years so I can't really complain about the lack of material.
Birthday Massacre fans - grab this album, there's no doubt about that, you'll enjoy it. Are you new to the band? Don't buy this as a first purchase. Start at 'Violet' and check out their other albums before coming back here.