We are Eyes, We are Builders
an era of silent hedonism and Levi's, grown men in shorts,
we have sluggishly entered a new age. Or is it an old age
repackaged before our eyes? Has Walt Disney come back to
life? Gary Numan and Blade Runner were once versions of
the robotic future. Now they are nostalgic and tacit views
of what our present age would be like, as they once imagine.
But now Numan would like to be Nine Inch Nails and Blade
Runner is just a cool looking movie. Then here comes Soviet
into the mix. I am not sure where they are from or who they
are. I can look at the cover of their CD and I think of
Kraftwerk videos. Maybe it's just a ski lift in Switzerland.
I hear the synthesizers and remember that new romantics
were all about surface and the death of Eros. Will we ever
inhabit the man/machine?
Soviet has been described as "Dressed in red shirts
with white ties and matching belts, they resembled a mixture
of Flock Of Seagulls and the Thompson Twins. With only a
mixer and two keyboards, they entertained a growing crowd
with 40 minutes of beautiful, catchy electronic tunes."
Sounds more like Kraftwerk or OMD. Why they have British
accents is beyond me. Whereas similar bands like Adult.
and Ladytron seem to spend a lot of time on crafting beats,
Soviet sound like they use a little Casio with only the
most rudimentary beats. What today's bands now forget that
most bands of the early 1980s had excellent live drummers.
And even once futurists like Steve Strange who has starred
in the "Ashes to Ashes" video, now lives with
his mom and collects welfare.
It seems as if Soviet have been received well as a live
band. But hearing someone else's opinion about whether a
band can deliver on-stage is much like hearing that Jennifer
Lopez is good in bed. The songs have pop quality, but the
almost melancholy voice recalls the unemotional world of
Alphaville. "Commute", "Marbleyezed",
and "Lonely Days" are the best songs here which
deal with empty spaces, cold love, and alienation. This
is a palette which David Bowie and John Foxx have explored
almost 25 years ago. I guess reading J. G. Ballard was as
popular then as it is now? I guess all music is there to
be discovered in the virgin woods. One shouldn't have to
be bogged down by history or who did what? I want to be
a machine, damnit!
"We Are Eyes, We Are Builders" is eventually
an important record. Soviet is a leading contender for one
of the year's best new synth-pop bands. They show great
promise and could be as interesting on record as Adult.
and Ladytron. They are already allegedly a good live act.
They have our attention. What they need are stronger beats
and tunes with a better sense of purpose. They could deliver
the future if they tried. Soviet has our attention. The
style gurus may move on to the next thing. Nirvana is dying
to make a comeback.
--- Alexander Laurence