REVIEW: Morticians - "Private Void"

By Rat Bastard

Chain Border

Mortician'sBefore I continue, I would like to point out that I'm not a big fan of synthpop in general. As far as I'm concerned, most synthpop bands put out some excellent songs here and there, but I often find myself unable to enjoy entire albums of the stuff. There are at least a handful of exceptions, of course (though "Wolfsheim", I've found, is German for "boring music"). With that in mind, I will now proceed to review a synthpop album.

Private Void is the latest offering from Swedish duo, Morticians. It's a collection of delightfully morbid synthpop, full of minimalistic melodies summoned forth from the cutting edge of 1985, combined with a few EBM/Industrial noises and beats for added spice, and all directed by calm, deep, (and oddly soothing) electronically-treated male vocals (with some occasional female backing vocals). The sound is not unlike that which might be produced if early Depeche Mode met up with Kraeftwerk, and transformed Morrissey into their cyborg frontman. Oddly enough, this combination actually works out pretty well, creating a sound that is catchy and still quite different from most of anything else that is currently going on in the synthpop world.

All 13 songs on Private Void are short and to the point, none longer than four minutes in length, which should please those with a low tolerance for over-extended dance mixes and the like. Though there is a fairly decent amount of variety on this disc (especially for a synthpop album), some of the songs do tend to blend together after a while, and Andreas Rimheden's voice, as I previously alluded, does have an odd soothing quality which, combined with the music's tendency towards morbidity, may cause cerebral collapse in those accustomed to only the loud and bouncy throbs of "future pop."

So, if you ever have the desire to slit your wrists in front of an altar made from analog synths, then you will _need_ a copy of this album in order to do it properly. Even if you're not feeling like suicide today, but still have an interest in synthpop, particularly "old school" synthpop, then I would definitely suggest popping this disc in for a spin. The album's opener, Alive, should provide plenty of reasons to continue listening.

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