Certain Satellites- Now You Look Angelic (2010)

Posted: June 14, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: ,

We at Is This Revolutionary? must put on our serious faces and admit that this is the band that started the whole “backlog email clean-out” campaign that we’ve taken up recently. They asked us for a review in March, and I promised them one, but they went the way of Dana Carvey’s career and just faded out behind the boatloads of new music that came our way. We want to apologize for how long this took us, and we hope that this is as helpful as you wanted it to be.

Certain Satellites is a group of many different sounds and genres. Self-describes as containing “new wave, synth-punk, shoegaze and indie”, they sound like a cross between The Cure and …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. They’re songs scream with passion, with the first track taking you into a spiral of 80’s punk and synthesizer. The musicians in this band are extremely talented, especially their drummer, who can play with great precision and speed. The beautiful part about this band is that none of the songs sound remotely similar. “Chances” is fast-paced and full of energy, but then “This Fire” slows it down generously, giving a more soulful mood. Musically, I truly do love the sounds of this album. The concepts and combinations are all so unique and interesting that it’s hard to find something to dislike.

They have one fatal flaw, however, and that is their vocalist. A blend of Robert Smith, Xiu Xiu and a base drum, he very rarely strays too far away from one particular note, and his lack of change severely brings down the rest. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t sound like a good fit for the band, as he doesn’t change with the radically different feels of this album. There is no emotion.  Through the album, my tolerance of it dipped because it was so prevalent in their songs. If it was in the background, I could have dealt, but for this band, vocals are a big deal. “This Fire” was kind of okay with it, because the slower vocals juxtaposed the speed of which the song was played (it actually was a pretty intriguing combination on their part). “One and One and One” was kind of the last straw: the song was extremely vocal heavy, but he sounded exactly the same.

Rating: Forcing myself to wait until the end, I realized that I spoke so much about vocals because they seemed so important to the band. Without them, though, they are truly a creative force to be reckoned with, and if they make some changes to that one issue, Certain Satellites could be a dark horse in this genre, or found a genre by themselves. 2/5 kegs.

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