California dreamers Some Ember have released their highly anticipated self titled LP as they jockey for position at the forefront of the seemingly continuous synth revival. And continuation certainly is key when it comes to Nina Chase and Dylan Travis as they carry an already established theme from previous albums Hotel Of Lost Light and Asleep In The Ice Palace.
With this in mind, Some Ember aficionados will no doubt know exactly what to expect here. Typical bass lines, swirling technological harmonies ranging from droning dream-like melodies, to the up-tempo and almost regimental beat of a colourful yet industrial sound.
Narrowing their influences as being quite simply the free and open skies of California, Some Ember further explore their soft, dreamy and electro led creativity with this self produced, self recorded ten track ensemble.
Opening track River Walker opens the door with that digital, almost space age sound. The deep male vocal borders upon the disturbing set upon a pedestal of technological distortion. Upbeat yet with a dark twist, it sets the tone for the LP with an industrial and clinical edge.
Shards is a track which nowadays would also be described as metallic and industrial. Yet if you cast your mind back to circa 1992 and listen with this mindset, it may well find a slightly different identity and fall within a surprising bracket. It becomes almost pop-like within it’s own right although the vocal takes a very definite back seat, allowing the slightly more uptempo rhythm to do the talking. And that really works in this case because that’s where the expression is here.
Some Ember holds steady and maintains direction as it unfolds. The Thrashing Whip is a further illustration of this state of mind. Swirling keyboard tones and pulsing electro sounds, the result of what I like to term as ‘sonic creativity’. And whilst the track feels as though it’s jam packed with a profound message, I’d have to admit that it’s meaning remains lost on me. Not that it’s particularly relevant anyway! For if there is indeed a message, it will undoubtedly be heard loud and clear by Some Ember aficionados-the select elite who will read between the lines… But that’s too much like work for the likes of me. I just want to tap my foot to something.
Splendor boldly announces itself almost by way of technological fanfair. The beat here is catchy and layered, as is the captivating and dreamy female vocal which has a hint of the European about it. Far removed from the sun-dried image of sandy California.
The album winds to it’s conclusion with final offering In Bloom. This is packed with everything you could possibly associate with Some Ember. Opening with a more regimented beat to lure you into a false sense of something else, before a drop to what will DEFINITELY remind you of the ‘beeping’ supermarket scanner! It’s confusing-but in that difficult to explain and captivating way reminiscent of early ’90’s one hit wonder Babylon Zoo (but without the crescendo).. If you see what I mean. It’s packed with wonderfully dark bass-lines, but offset by a vocal akin to late ’80’s Pet Shop Boys. And in this regard the track is indicative of the album. A swirling cacophony of everything you may come to expect of Some Ember.
This is a ten track collection of a dream-like energy overflowing with colour. It’s a raw, droning intensity which stands to showcase Some Ember both as a group and as an album, as something of an enigma. And it is this almost haunting quality which will hold you spellbound as you explore the emotional contours of the perilous with the creatively channeled duo.
The self titled, self produced and self recorded LP is available right now on Dream Recordings. In the meantime, here’s Some Ember’s The Thrashing Whip…