CD Review

Lilac Ambush – “Arsenal”

By Marcus Pan

ArsenalI’ve been putting this review off for a while, and I think it’s mostly because it’s hard to find something spectacular to say about Lilac Ambush’s Arsenal. It’s solid, quite well made for an indie release (off of Twisted Spinach Records), but it hovers with the other dark and gloomy goth rockers. It’s somewhat minimal, guitars are muted but effective and backing electronics are mellow and laid back. The whole album, really, is kind of a throwback to an earlier time when things weren’t so heavy handed and blasting.

Songs like Virtual and Buzzsaw have somewhat repetitive lyrics which makes it a bit hard to get into the track without getting a little off-put by blasé. It’s almost like Lilac Ambush are doing a punk rock version of dark gloomy goth – where tracks should be only 2 ½ minutes in length because their messages are that quick. Most stray along slowly, with occasional beat lifters like Take Aim. Most tracks will repeat the choruses a number of times – without this we’d have the 2 ½ minute crunches that would go down easier.

Buzzsaw has an interesting off-base beat, but moves slowly and ploddingly. Senastion is one of the more complicated on Arsenal and shows what I hope is a vision of Lilac Ambush’s future. Tension brings in a lovely female vocalist that works harmoniously off of the male vocalists. I really like the soft tones of Beside the Darkness. The percussion gets a little stronger as well, and the flute playing against the strumming guitar is a nice sound. The closing track, the Blue Sky Mix of Tension speeds it up slightly and adds some nice textures to it.

Lilac Ambush’s Arsenal is one of those CDs that tried hard but finds it difficult to grow beyond what it really could be. Songs are solid, if a little under-produced, but brood too long sometimes and loses your interest as you go. Maybe too strict of a moody goth rock formula is being used instead of mixing it up or speeding it up just a little. They can certainly program and certainly write interesting songs and lyrics, but occasionally it will lose itself in its downright plodding moodiness.

Contact Information:
Twisted Spinach
Post: PO Box 7, Gloucester, MA 01931, USA
Phone: (978) 397-2562

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