Sunday 6 May 2018

Review: Strvngers – 'Amor / Noir'

'Amor / Noir'

Canadian darkwave duo Strvngers return with their hotly anticipated third album 'Amor / Noir'. The duo already acclaimed for their innovative melding of genres such as darkwave, post-punk, ebm, edm, and gothic rock to create an original sound that is dark, dance-friendly and always interesting. The band's third offering (and second on Negative Gain Productions) sees them at their most accessible and polished yet.

With an undeniable pop-sensibility running throughout the duo blend modern dance themes through dark atmospheres, and filters them through a trippy haze to create some truly stunning results. Songs such as 'Wanderlust', 'Fetisha', 'Leder Dame', 'This Is Not A Phase', 'Verisimilitude', 'Lethargy', and 'Noir' provide the album with a strong backbone of tracks that walk a line between dark gothic industrial malevolence and pop-friendly electronica. Infectious melodies, hard dance beats, soaring vocals, and dark industrial embellishments come together is a very pleasing way.

In terms of production this is also the band's strongest outing yet. There is a hell of a lot going on in the majority of the tracks and it would be very easy for some elements to be swamped by the heavier synths when they come through. However, the tracks remain pretty balanced with the vocals always cutting through, the rhythms grounding the tracks and the melodies pushing everything forward.

What Strvngers have achieved on 'Amor / Noir' is a strong, consistent, and ultimately accessible record that blends multiple alternative genres and presents them is a pop-friendly manner. It's a dirty, sexy album, heavy on atmosphere and underground subversion presented in an approachable way. In a way this is almost a parallel with Nine Inch Nails' 'Pretty Hate Machine'. But this is uniquely Strvngers from start to finish. Hopefully this will be the album that cements the band's place and see gain some more ground over the next year or so.

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