CD Reviews

Sonic Winter - 'Party War On The Killing Floor'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 09, 2017    
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If this is an album meant to insight revolution, the establishment can sleep easy in their beds.

Cyber-passport at the ready? Good, let's take the Sonic Winter world tour. A French, Glasgow-based duo, SW's second album, 'Party War On The Killing Floor', finds Jean-Marc Millière and Francis Girola not only pulling talent from their French homeland and adopted abode in Scotland, but also from Sweden, Ukraine, Canada, Italy and Georgia. In all, twenty-five musicians and vocalists are credited on this album. Factor in a Classical string ensemble, electronic sequencing and "sound design" all being part of their tapestry and Sonic Winter are aiming high. With the beautifully illustrated CD booklet also quoting a lengthy passage from 'The Spirit Of Revolt', an 1880 work by Piotr Kropotkin, detailing why certain times demand revolution, there's no doubt that the lyrical framework is also looking to be deep and involved.

All of which makes the actual contents of '...Floor' all the more disappointing. The first hurdle to overcome is a sound that feels like it was created buried deep under an industrial tea-cosy, but without the satisfying brew at the end. The muffled production making the suggestion on the back cover to "play this record at the highest possible volume in order to fully appreciate the sound", comes across as vain hope that you may deafen yourself and not realise how terrible the sonics are. The songs themselves aren't much better, a mish-mash of styles hacked out, with Prog, seventies Rock, Psychedelic, Pop, Space Rock, Industrial, Electronica and New Wave all given a bash, but without a hook or flash of excitement to be found anywhere.

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The vocals throughout are passed from singer to singer, but all bar a few are buried so deep in the mix that a search party has been sent out to find them. The exceptions show up in the shape of 'Defender', where Girola himself part-chants across eighties key-washes to good effect, and 'Beautiful Queen Of The Golden East', where I'm sorry to say that Corinne S appears to be avoiding the expected melody line at all cost. The results aren't pretty. In truth, none of this is.

If 'Party War On The Killing Floor' is an album meant to insight revolution, the establishment can sleep easy in their beds.

Steven Reid

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