Victor Love – The Network EP


For those of you unfamiliar with the delights of Victor Love: no, this isn’t some 1950s B-Movie hero. Love, in fact, heads up Italian Electro-Industrialists Dope Stars Inc, and The Network EP (Self-Released/Independent) is a rare solo outing.

It’s an edgy if often thin sound: opener ‘Doom Trap’ is punchy and sinister, but heavy on the synth work which occasionally comes across as a forlorn clavichord. It’s easy to level accusations of 80s Pop toward this but in truth there’s far more drama: ‘…Trap’s roared choruses possess the breezy airs of Babylon Zoo, but strangely succeed in thickening the atmosphere rather than lifting it. There’s a cheesiness to the ensuing ‘Machine Gun’ despite the subtle clashing and grinding which underpins the confrontational refrain; the almost onomatopoeic delivery and horrendous, Bontempi-style preamble grating somewhat. There is, however, cold steel in the near-antagonistic focal points, and an icy chill to the initially sparing keys of closer ‘Net Reality’: the standout track, displaying tragedy through the lush high points which falls somewhere between a balladic Marilyn Manson and an Electronica-laden Placebo. Here Love’s voice is spiked yet melodic, the frisson created by those icicle-drop keys evoking the seedy desolation of a dark backstreet in 30s Berlin.

It’s debatable how potent a full album of this occasionally brittle yet bitter Cyber-Punk style could be. The Network is eminently listenable nevertheless, and possesses enough sharp teeth to pique the emotions.




Starset – Transmissions

Starset - Transmission

This is a weird one, readers, so bear with me…

Let’s deal with the facts first. Starset is a rock band from Columbus, Ohio, formed by Dustin Bates, who, as well being the main protagonist, also has a bit of a scientific background… he’s been to university in other words. The band’s debut album Transmissions (Razor & Tie) hit #49 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. The band’s first single, ‘My Demons’ is now in the Top 10 at Rock Radio in the USA and has been on the chart for 32 weeks. They are quite popular.

So far, so promising new band story, right? Wrong.

Here’s where it starts getting weird. Dustin formed Starset, according to him, after being contacted by an organization called The Starset Society and its’ President, Dr. Aston Wise. Bates was asked if he was interested in forming a band to promote the organization’s message. At its core, the message is a warning that involves a scientific discovery that is currently being controlled and manipulated by an elite few.

Are you going “Uh-oh” at this moment? Good, you should be.

Remember Babylon Zoo? Yes, well now you’re starting to get the idea. This rampant silliness is all a bit of a shame for this debut because buried in the pointless over-production, the sound clippings from satellites and the wall upon wall of violins are a bunch of pop rock songs that sound fairly decent, are well arranged and, on occasion, hummable. Yes, there are tunes.

Transmissions is the sort of record that lots of people who should know better get inevitably excited about because it has classical orchestration on it which means that they will use words like “epic”, “visionary” and so on to describe a record that, if they were being really honest, sounds an awful lot like a Linkin Park tribute act playing over the soundtrack to Blade Runner. Fair play to Bates- he has got a bit of a vision thing going on – shame then that his vision is the same old hackneyed conspiracy theory trope about shadowy government agencies and mind control.

If you like this sort of thing, well you’re going to like this sort of thing. If you don’t, well you won’t. Each to their own…


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