Saturday, 4 August 2018

Dance With The Dead "The Shape" (2016)


After the disappointment of Send The Signal we jump forward to The Shape, the California duo's most recent album, which restores much of the dark and playful, EDM pounding, nostalgic Retro Wave to its prime. This record doesn't appear to revive the guitar leads and 80s Metal accents, instead it finds its form in a leaning towards the fun and comical horror of zombie movies and the like. Its key melodies play like a howl in the wind with a touch of the spooky and creepy, however the audience is kept safe from harm behind the glossy aesthetic of gleaming electronic instruments and the continuous thud of Dance beats.

Its a very likable record, it rests itself firmly within the night club as its relentless snare and kick drive keeps the pulsating energy flowing while its lead instruments explore the themes over top of chugging Industrial guitars that lay behind the dazzling synths to add some texture and force to the sound. Its a squeaky clean sound, polished almost to a fault as a lack of natural feel leaves the music lingering in a sterile environment where its monotonous pounding sometimes loses charm.

The mid song Adrift does an important job toning down the energy and giving the record some room to breathe as its punchy, fast attacking synths rarely break formation. Its organized, mechanical and industrious, all the parts of the machine fire on demand and leave the music without many organic or fluid moments but obviously that's not what its aiming for. Its a finely tuned engine blazing down the night highway, illuminated by neon lights reflecting from the towers of a never ending city. 

As the album draws on it drifts further from the undercurrent of spooky, horror related melodies that gave it some spice in the get go. It starts to feel rather generic and bland however its arrangement of sharp and keen synths keep a high energy engaging. The last two song bring back some guitar fever and Quietly Into The Night hits a high note as soft piano opens up a slow, open, atmospheric song that's engulfed by an epic display of lead guitar shredding. Its far from where the record but a great note to fade out on. Although the records theme doesn't last the stretch its got plenty of good to go around.

Favorite Tracks: Eyes Of Madness, Her Ghost, Adrift, Quietly Into The Night
Rating: 6/10

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