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Chromatics – Kill For Love
Label: Italians Do It Better – IDIB38
Format: CD, LP, Download
Released: 05 Jun 2012
Genre: Electronic, Pop
Chromatics as a band have been through quite a few changes since their initial formation in 2001, originally starting out as a a four piece playing Punk inspired Indie Rock, but after the release of their first album, 2003’s, “Chrome Rats Vs. Basement Ruts” three of the members left to form the band, Shoplifting, leaving only one Adam Millar to carry on the development of Chromatics. Quickly building the band up again Millar and his new bandmates released “Plaster Hounds” in 2004 though still an Indie Rock styled album this time with a more early 80’s Post Punk feel akin to, Liquid Liquid and that scene than 70’s Punk, the sound was definitely moving in a different direction to Chromatics first effort. Through the next couple of years the band continued to evolve with its members and sound finally settling down to a four piece and the release of the critically acclaimed, “Night Drive” in 2007 this time the change in sound was more dramatic, gone are the distant effected vocals, banging drums, raucous Guitars in favour of a smoother early 80’s New Wave/Synth Pop/Italo Disco sound, quite a shock to many Chromatic fans of old I’m sure.
And this is where we enter with “Kill For Love” a definite evolution of “Night Drive” but not apparent from the outset, you see the first track on “Kill For Love” is a cover of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)” here just called “Into The Black”. On first listen I was put out a bit by this because I’m not a big fan of covers but as the song unfolded it revealed a lovely interpretation sticking very close to the original track though building the song with some modern synth touches to give it a Chromatics flavour. Track two, the title track “Kill For Love” see’s Chromatics move us onto the themes the rest of the album will take, this being very 80’s New Wave/Synth Pop as Electronics take centre stage with a very New Order inspired song and that sound bleeds right into track three “Back From The Grave” but this time we hear a Guitar opening the track sounding hauntingly reminiscent of Robert Smith and The Cure with more New Order stylings underpinning the song. I imagine you could accuse this album of plagiarism the sounds are that close to other artists as track 4 “The Page” is awakening parallels to Cocteau Twins but thankfully this is where Chromatic start to deviate a bit putting forth their own brand of modern Electronic Ethereal Pop.
This starts for me with one of the standout tracks “Lady” which captures a slice of modern electronica within its Poppy grasp with atmospheric sounds and vocals lifting you and the album up from its 80’s roots and planting it firmly in 2012, though echoes of Liz Fraser still permeate but not as blatantly as previous tracks. This is a long album coming in at 77 minutes from 16 tracks with a mixture of long, short and most interestingly five instrumental tunes, two Tangerine Dream-a-like tracks “Broken Mirrors” and “There’s a Light Out on The Horizon” modern ambient work in “The Eleventh Hour” another The Cure homage “Dust to Dust” and Italo Disco inflected “A Matter of Time” these numbers could almost be the backing for a long lost 80’s teen thriller they positively drip with atmosphere and ambiance.
“Kill For Love” is definitely heavy on the Electronics and 80’s feel but don’t let that put you off as there’s some lovely songs on here in the vein of say, Saint Etienne or Goldfrapp. The recording on first listen came across as very hot on the mastering but after subsequent listens I’m not sure its any worse than the majority of other releases in 2012, and I’m reliably informed that the vinyl is a lovely package, the sounds are warm and analogue as you would expect from these types of electronics creating as mentioned great atmosphere and ambiance drawing you into the soundscapes with open arms. This is not a brash, fast, uptempo album but a much slower more enveloping listen that weaves its charms in a variety of ways from Ruth Radelet’s ethereal vocal lead songs to rose tinted sounds of a time long gone to ambient imagery provoking instrumentals. Yes its long I must emphasis this as you may be thinking there’s got to be lots of filler on here (a concept I don’t really agree exists) but I think that notion will disappear after a few listens as Chromatics “Kill For Love” slowly crawls under your skin.
Discuss this album here
I knew nothing of this artist before this arrived for review, just a vague feeling I had listened to something by him on Spotify once.