REVIEW: Backlash - "Impetus"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

ImpetusBacklash was first conceived in 1998 by Niklas Lundqvist and Oskar Lygner, both of whom hail from Lidköping, Sweden. By 2000, the duo became a trio with the addition of Malin Andersson. This successful band was brought to the North American shores by the ever astute Kristy Venrick, owner of Nilaihah Records, thereby demonstrating that there is simply so much good music being made in the world that needs to be discovered.

At first listen, some may be a bit disoriented because there is such a heavy emphasis on vocoder effects. Usually bands opt for this studio trick when their vocalist can't carry a tune. That isn't the case with Backlash since it is quite discernable to hear the singing voice layered under the electronic effect.

Some have stated that the band is a cross between And One meets Kraftwerk and Front Line Assembly. That is understandable as far as comparisons may go, but they certainly have their own unique sound. Once one is acclimated to the vocal transition you are then left to hear the wonderfully expansive dance electronic work that they have crafted. This EBM style is friendly and conducive in both a club and home setting. It is upbeat, infectious to the point of addiction and dares you not to love it with each listen. The band was also astute enough to interject the male and female robotic effects to round out the aggression with elements of the soft.

Once we get past all the electronic wizardry, we are left with some rather poignant lyrics and sentiments that are introspectively poetic without being mawkish. Blind (radio edit) takes a love longing sentiment where one lover understands the depth of their beloved, but the other partner seems blinded by this. Anodyne For The Weak bubbles and percolates at the intro before pumping the groove up a few notches. It is a mind talk dealing with keeping up an outward appearance even though everything inside has gone cold. Alter Ego pumps the EBM with yet another self-talk type of lyrical track. Here, we are faced with having to battle our own conscience when we simply don't have the self esteem or stamina to keep up appearances.

Fix has "international hit" written all over it and is flawless in its present state. This is the type of track that could be playing in the background somewhere and for some reason you find yourself singing it to yourself as it replays in your mind. Lyrically, the delivery takes us towards our own human frailty while we wonder if our search for a higher power will ever come to elevate us out of our present existence. EBM Dj's would be foolish not to incorporate this gem into their playlists as it has a hell of a long shelf life for rotation that could mix well with classics from the 80's as well as some of today's more popular club fare.

Spirit In Reverse explores the personality trait of obsessiveness that haunts us. It is that place where we realize we are in a comfort zone that isn't healthy for us, yet we are immobile to transcend its clutches upon our lives. The gritty electronic introduction segues into a gentle synthpop and then kicks back in with the aggressive tones. Liberation is a double entendre of sorts. On the one hand there is that undeniable feeling of being free when in love, yet there is always that inner voice that warns that we are being lied to or will be deceived somewhere down the road. It is this culmination between reality and emotional intensity that causes us to allow ourselves to fall into an oblivion like some mental drug. This is another track that also screams out international hit.

Visionary Fields takes us to that place where we need our nocturnal dreams of yesterday when love was right and the world didn't seem so cold and emotionally barren. This mid-tempo track forces us to see our own relational dysfunction and helps to give a voice to the complexity of love and life in the modern age. Regression Is No Option is the crux of all relational reality. No matter how one tries to salvage a broken romance, it never quite seems to fall back into its original place. After a number of songs that were self recriminating, the entirety of it all is summed up rather poetically in this track. This, like the preceding track is mid-tempo.

Backlash gave voice to all those emotions within the confines of a relationship. As the title of the CD suggests, there is an Impetus because without the friction there isn't any personal growth. The tracks delve into many facets of love, loss and longing until the culmination gives rise to the need of transcending self reproach.

The male-female vocal counterpoints work rather well, however Malin Andersson's vocals elevate the tracks to new heights. Whether one is into good electronic music or seeking out new dance music for a club or home environment, Backlash will deliver for quite some time. The only negative comment is that their website has been under construction for some time, so gleaning information will have to come from a variety of sources, most notably from their US parent company Nilaihah Records.

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Buy "Impetus"

Contact Information:
Post: Nilaihah Records, PO Box 82614, Columbus, OH, 43202-0614, USA
Phone: (614) 297-2009

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