Iioioioii's double A-side single 'Rising Sky' / 'Stardust' was an excellent introduction to the US-based synth wizard Christopher Gurney. It's dark and gritty futuristic feel was reminiscent of the likes of John Foxx, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy and Acretongue. The lead tracks made good use of synthpop melodies and industrial textures in a way that acknowledged what had gone before, but still sounding fresh and exciting. The highly anticipated full-length album 'Sun', already has a lot to live up to from that point of view. But it is safe to say that Gurney is up to the challenge.
The album kicks things off as it should with the afore mentioned lead single 'Rising Sky'. The likes of 'Weapon', 'Falling', 'We're Still Alive', and 'Goodbye' in particular keep up the melancholy yet dance friendly edge of the Iioioioii sound with their focus on solid beats, catchy melodies and sing-a-long vocals. However songs like 'Stardust', 'Spotlight', and 'Echo' veer into more experimental waters, utilising elements of early Ministry/Skinny Puppy-esque industrial and even psychedelia to create a whole new level to the album.
The remixes included on the album may be somewhat superfluous to the main track list, however they round the proceedings off with some diverse reconstructions. The strongest of which are the bouncy 'Stardust (Screaming Teens Remix)' by Dream Disciples, the sinister remix of 'Spotlight' from Garten Der Asche, and Machinista's huge dubstep-tinged take on 'Stardust'.
The album is wonderfully constructed and well mixed, showing off not only the range and scope of Gurney's song writing ability, but also the attention to detail that has gone into each song. The only real sticking point is in the vocal delivery, which is pretty much uniform across the album aside from some slight effect changes in places. Gurney has got a great voice yet he does come off as a little shy in places when he should be belting out a big chorus. But when he goes for it he proves he can nail it.
'Sun' is an impressive album that incorporates both old and new elements of synthpop and industrial and combines them into something that still sounds original and relevant. Gurney is capable of making you dance, or taking you on a dreamlike inward journey on alternate tracks. There is a talent here that will no doubt continue to develop and deliver as he goes on.