Julien-k’s new album “We’re Here With You” was released this week and arrived in my mailbox on Monday. At first listen, I liked their first one “Death To Analog” better, but after 10 or so listens, it has grown on me.
1. We’re Here With You – A good intro song to the album, it’s pretty representative of what you are going to get with the rest. There is a similarity to most of the songs, maybe the programmed drums, and a specific guitar tone that goes through it all. It’s catchy and upbeat, and has the ability to get stuck in your head. 3.5/5
2. Surrounded by Cowards – This is the most “pop” song of the whole album, I think it would have the most general appeal to someone unfamiliar with the band (or with Orgy). I don’t really dig the vocal pauses in the chorus, but I guess it’s trendy. The lyrics are quite relatable. One of my favs. 4/5
3. Cruel Daze of Summer – Another strong song, good melody, easy to sing along. But another song with oh oh ohs…that makes 3 of 3. It has a very long intro before the vocals start (over a minute), and even after a week of listening I keep thinking it’s an instrumental (and that said, they could probably do a very cool instrumental record). I like this one quite a bit though. 4/5
4. Breakfast in Berlin – Upon first listen when the video was released a few weeks ago I was underwhelmed. It seemed very different from “Death To Analog” and I didn’t like the direction. But like the whole album, it has grown on me. It’s not a fav, but it’s ok. Another song with ah ah ahs….4 of 4 now. It’s like a U2 record lol! 3/5
5. Palm Springs Reset – For a ballad (recall, I tend to dislike ballads by anyone), it’s not bad. It’s very nice lyrically, the vocals are pretty. The better of the 3 ballads on the album. 3.8/5
6. Colorcast – I hate this song. I’m still listening to it in this initial listening period, but after this, it’ll get fast forwarded. The verses are channeling Depeche Mode (newer DM), and then you get to the chorus which is channeling Ke$ha, and there is nothing good about reminding people about her. The auto tuned vocal pauses are just so horrific, they make me cringe. Ugh. 1/5
7. Close Continuance – The low range vocals remind me of Michael Hutchence, which is always nice. After 2 slower songs, we’re back to a more upbeat track. The guitar makes me think of Earl Slick (Bowie) on a bootleg of the Reality tour I have. Not much else to say, it’s a decent track. 3/5
8. Nights of Future Past – My favourite on the record. I like my electro to have some heaviness to it, and this track is delightfully dark. The verses have a bit of a DM vibe to them again, and they build up to the chorus very nicely. Love. 5/5
9. Flashpoint Riot – My 2nd fav. It initially has a NIN’s “Survivalism” vibe to the guitar, but beyond that it is it’s own beast. It’s gritty and heavier, my kind of music. More guitar, less prominent drum programming. I think it’d be a fun song live. 4/5
10. I’ll Try Not To Destroy You – The album closes on a ballad, which I think is always risky. Do ballads make people want to come back for more? I dunno. People always think bands best songs are ballads, and I just think that’s a bunch of crap. It definitely has lyrics that seem personal (it appears to be a love song). I find it sort of boring though, but that’s me and my dislike of ballads. They’re all boring haha. It’s not a bad song, just not my thing. 2.5/5
I still have trouble reconciling Ryan the guitarist from Orgy (as I originally knew him) and Ryan the vocalist. I just keep being amazed that this voice comes from that person haha. Even after seeing them live with CombiChrist in 09, and seeing that he really is doing the singing (lol), it’s just…I need to rebrand my vision of him from guitarist to frontman. I find it amusing.
Overall it’s a good listen, and I enjoy it, but I feel like there is something lacking from the first one. I don’t dance but I like music that makes me wish I could, and this sorta doesn’t. I feel like it lacks a groove that makes you bounce around in your seat while driving. It has the dance club programmed drums, but I feel like there is no appropriate bass line to go with it and get you moving. And then there is the over abundance of ah ah ahs/oh oh ohs, and the horrible ke$ha vocal pauses. I like my dance music to be a bit heavier (think kmfdm), and this album is definitely more straight club, but that’s just my personal taste.
The lyrics have grown from the first album and seem more personal and relatable. It has nice vocals and melodies, and I find the songs getting stuck in my head. I recommend it to anyone familiar with the band, or who likes electronic music with some depth (other than 20 minute long straight programmed drum club songs).
I respect that the band wanted to do what they liked, and screw labels and charts. That’s always a good thing. I’m just glad for new music from them, glad it’s doing well on itunes, and hope to see them on the road soon!
My big pet peeve of recently purchased albums, not just this one, is the length. This one is 10 songs, and 49 minutes. Historically album length was dependent on the medium, with vinyl holding about 25 minutes per side, cds holding 79 minutes, and now digital albums are limitless. But everything recently released by bands I follow have been under 50 minutes (some WAY under), and it is aggravating haha. Sometimes it’s been years between albums, and all fans get is 45 minutes of new music? I don’t expect a double album from everyone, I don’t even expect 79 minutes, but I think an hour is do-able. Maybe it’s a money thing, most of these bands don’t have label support, so maybe the cost of studio time is the limiting factor…The new Lacuna Coil record I also got this week is 45 minutes. The Dreaming’s “Puppet” is about 40 min. Econoline Crush’s “Ignite” is 39 minutes!! I just don’t get it.