Tuesday 22 March 2016

Review: Atomic Neon – 'The Bodanegra Session'

'The Bodanegra Session'

For nearly ten year's Germany’s Atomic Neon has been flying the flag for darkly brooding gothic rock. Having only just released their latest album 'Down' on Black Rain Records, the band return with a slightly different take on their sound in the form of 'The Bodanegra Sessions'. The album consists of tracks recorded between 2012 and 2016 featuring Rio Black on vocals as usual but all music written by Bodanegra.

Blending the madcap melancholy of The Cure's early years with the steady malevolent mechanical beats of The Sisters Of Mercy, and injecting the result with subtle electronics the album is a pop-friendly but dark throwback to the 80s.

The album lacks the band's usual fully augmented sound but what they do present on this special release is nonetheless valid. Songs such as 'Dark City', 'He Looks Like A Vampire', 'The Walking Dead', '… And The Night!', 'The Fall', and 'Buried Machine' are enjoyable tracks with steady dance appeal and more than a big dose of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.

The production is pretty basic compared to the band's usual standard and it leaves the album with a kind of unfinished vibe to it. It does sound unrepentant in its retro chic which holds it back as a modern gothic album – however if you were to stand this alongside releases from the 80s it would more than hold its own.

This is an odd curve-ball from Atomic Neon, and perhaps one more for collectors/fans rather than the casual listeners, but there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had here. It certainly isn't as strong as the band's 2015 album 'Down', but it has a charm that is hard to deny.  

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