REVIEW: Envy is Blind - “The Eyes of Time’s Conception”

By JHR

Chain Border

The Eyes of Time’s ConceptionThe name of this band is Envy is Blind, and with a CD called The Eyes of Time's Conception one would be forgiven for expecting several slices of tedious tradgoth honking, mithering and chorused arpeggios.

Nope. It's...sort-of synthpop, though resolutely not of the 'gay-ass' variety as some less enlightened... Oh, ok. That's what homophobic frat-boy scum might call it. Just before they were given a sound shoeing and thrown out of whatever club or emporium had made the mistake of letting in a mob of arse-scratching neanderthals like that. Stroppy synthpop then. Synthpop that's had a shite day at work or is just generally peeved with the nature of the world around it.

In short, the sort of music that cybergoths go for like packs of big-booted rats because it sounds like that techno malarkey, but doesn't require mixing with the sort of people they consider beneath them. And it's really easy to do that 'shouty robot' dance to it. Of course, most people would label it 'EBM' and move on. But I'm annoying and have a review to write...

It seems to me that what people call EBM today bears little resemblance to the material that (say) Front-242, Cassandra Complex or Neon Judgement (and, if you're feeling charitable, Nitzer Ebb) were producing when that sound first became pigeonholed. Just as what we call 'industrial' now is as close to what Cabaret Voltaire, SPK or Einsturzende Neubauten were as I am to a squad of performing penguins.

I guess the North American equivalent became named 'Industrial Dance' – there was obviously some odd parallel evolution. It would be interesting to trace the chain of influences back, though I think we'd all end up on Kraftwerk's doorstep looking a bit sheepish about ringing the bell.

This CD takes a while to get going, what with some obvious chord changes and the usual attempt at not-singing we've come to expect like three buses turning up at once and the drunken nutter on the train making a bee-line for the seat right next to your own. However, by the time we reach the station named Co-Existence, the ticket collector had a broad grin on his face and the guard's van is rocking like a bastard. A veritable stormer of a track and no mistake. It's quickly followed by Sea of Flames which borrows both euro-trance and psy-trance noises and styles to splendid effect. A pity about the doomy vox – there's a real hands-in-the-air floorfiller lurking around in the background there. But I guess people with the voice of Liz Swarf aren't to be found hiding under every rock. After that though, things go off the boil a bit.

I firmly suspect it's me. I've listened to a lot of EBM/synthpop (or whatever it's called this week) and it appears to pack out clubs from here to Warsaw with the sort of people who don't like or get techno music for some reason. The noises are very similar, but unless you've listened to a reasonable amount of both, it's hard to tell the stuff apart. (Like yer average cloth-eared tradgoth who calls all electronic music 'techno.' Which is a lot like calling Pantera, Oasis and the Mission the same because 'Well, it's all guitar music innit?')

The thing is that techno...moves me, and (modern) EBM…doesn't. I need to travel across Europe and try to make sense of what's going on. I don't think the UK is the best place to try and understand this. I may be gone some time.

Contact Information:
Post: Envy is Blind, 2300 Aldrich Ave. S, Suite 8, Minneapolis, MN, 55405, USA
Phone: (612) 377-5269
E-Mail: envyisblind@hotmail.com
Web: www.envyisblind.com

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