Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Space Tapes And Vice Of The Bourgeoisie

Last year Bourgeoisie released their first record, a self titled affair that was full of passion and 80s love but structured with an eye and ear for the modern. This first record (available here) was to be the last I'd hear of any news or new music from these Florida based brothers until now. Fourteen months on from their debut album they've now unleashed the ferociously energetic Space Tapes And Vice album.

The gap between releases has seen more developments of their sounds, but not at the expense of the disco OutRun Bourgeoisie made us fall in love with in 2012. Their music still has an agressive edge to it but the melodies and arrangements have progressed in a way that optimises their sounds. The breakdowns are longer and drama builds to greater peaks than before while instrumentations are much more developed. Sometimes the more modern arrangements take away a little from the flow of some individual tracks but as an all round package the record brings forth an exciting experience with a much more refined and defined sound than their first record. Taking a year to get their music to this point was a very wise choice.

Opening their account with 'Industrial Sector 3083' it becomes evident very quickly that the gritty and dramatic is where Bourgeoisie want to launch this record from. Rhythms and sounds build in a much more accomplished manner than their first record; a trend concurrent throughout the album and the explorations of each idea come across forthrightly. Looped melodies are layered and built with a machinelike power but it's the soaring lead synth that breaks the shackles and takes things in a new direction.

As the album continues into the much more disco themed 'In The Name' we get to experience a side of the group that shines like a diamond lit by neon. Their rock solid rhythm sections get augmented magnificently by synthscapes that go off in different moods but all return to the cranking disco rhythms. This piece does lose it's way just a little in the midsection and could afford to be a tightened up a bit to maximise the impact of the back end, but the story does remain strong and interesting which is an accomplishment in itself for a near eight minute disco odyssey.

The intriguingly titled 'The Story Of Larkin Taftt' takes the Bourgeoisie soundscape into more adventurous realms, beginning with some amazingly orchestrated melodies and then leading into smoother sailing until the final act's reprise. The experimenting in different sound personalities is impressively manipulated with every melody feeling lively and animated. This piece moves into the more atmospheric 'Crystal Brain' which displays a great dexterity in the range of instruments used to create flourishes of excitement and drama while a more soundtrack oriented engine room powers through.

Much of the charm of the Bourgeoisie sound comes from these details that often take the listener by surprise and feel almost improvised, this gives a very live sound to their pieces and it makes me think these guys would be totally rockin as a live performance. Even in pieces like 'De Tomaso', which is listed as an interlude, the ambience is peppered with exciting elements which engage and entertain.

The interlude leads into the highly dramatic 'Back Alley Showdown'. The bassline growls with power while a huge build crests then flows into a hypnotising refrain that gets layered with samples and details. It's this modern style arranging that Bourgeoisie do so very well and the tension throughout this composition is unrelenting. Drama is upped even further in 'Maracaibo' only this time the beautifully crafted accent melodies lift the mood to a positive realm. Although the shadows are inescapable this track offers delightful clarity and light.

'Home' brings the sound back to a much more straight up and down OutRun style, which is very refreshing. This piece feels more like their first album in it's personality, but this is by no means a negative. The more simplistic atmosphere makes every note and nuance count. Towards the third act of 'Home' a ripping synth melody launches things into a volatile state the keeps you on the edge of your seat til it's completion.

Even more surprises are in store with the next track 'Atlas'. Funkier moods are explored with the synths taking on more modern sounds and loops building with a new intensity. In what's probably the least 80s sounding track, musically, Bourgeoisie achieve a new tone to their sound that is very engaging, although I think this track could've benefited from being tightened up ever so slightly as it tends to wander a bit in the midsection.

The final track for the album is 'Deco Bop'. This piece really makes the most of the looping rhythms as their allowed to build and evolve perfectly. The lead melody is an invigorating tour de force that is full musical magic. The percussion in this track is some of Bourgeoisie's best with a massive gun shot snare that complements the melodies perfectly.  Of all the tracks on the album longer than five minutes in length, I think 'Deco Bop' is the most developed and entertaining, and definitely finishes the album on a high note.

Bourgeoisie's sounds are definitely based with their heart and soul in classic 80s sounds but their modern arrangements can sometimes allow their music to meander, ever so slightly. Over the course of this album I found every track had tonnes of things I loved, but sometimes the more repetitive sections in a couple of tracks found me disengaging, if only for a short time. The overall experience, however, is highly energised and full of exciting experiences and as full length release delivers stacks of rockin action from beginning to end.

Bourgeoisie present Space Tapes And Vice on their Bandcamp page here and this release comes as highly recommended album by Synthetix.FM. Those of you who enjoy the more modern style of 80s inspired synth music will gravitate towards it more than those who prefer the truly authentic styles but, in all honesty, Bourgeoisie put on a great show for any lover of quality synth sounds. This most certainly shows a great deal of development in this band's sounds and rocks hard and often.

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