Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: RetConStruct - 'Dear Doomsday'

'Dear Doomsday'

The début offering from San Jose based duo Guy and Jill Valdes AKA RetConStruct – short for “Retroactive Continuity Construct” – shouldn't really work. Across the album's thirteen tracks the band tell “stories of scientific attempts to open gates into hell and [...] chronicle our futile attempts to survive invasion by aggressive species”. Musically it's a conceptual car crash of powernoise and industrial soundscapes tied together by a core understanding of catchy song writing. It's off-beat, rough, distorted and doesn't ever feel like it truly comes together, but the framework is there for a genuinely interesting project.

 Opening with 'Inevitable Retconstruction' the band play things safe with a slice of sample-heavy atmospheric industrial before descending into the demented clattering of 'Orbital Outpost Empyrean', with it's uncomfortable timing and menacing vocal performance. Tracks like 'Virtual Hero', 'Legion Of Dolls', 'Dark Days' and 'Invasive Species' on the other hand continue along a more recognisable if still unorthodox formula that makes good use of both beats and bass to propel the album along. But the heavily, distorted vocal performance give things an old school kind of feel reminiscent of the cacophonous early days of industrial music. But just when you think you've got this album figured out, RetConStruct pull out another trick to make you re-evaluate the album.

In terms of production the album is crystal clear and the mix lets everything ring out as it should. Where the problems lie is really in the rawness of the recordings. The drums can at times sound rather tinny and the vocals often swamp themselves to the point of incoherence.

Conceptually this is clever stuff though. The band's mission statement may read like another science fiction obsessed project, but stylistically they're really trying to push their boundaries. But rather than opt for a sharp shock to the system, the album does feel like it is trying to cover a lot of ground unnecessarily, which unfortunately does muddy the overall impact. 

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