vrijdag 30 november 2018

Eros. SX

SX is a duo from Belgium with an international sound, not unlike Depeche Mode was doing circa 1990 when the band scored its biggest hits in this country. Eros holds the same kind of electronic beats combined with synthetic atmospherics and something sounding like metal being hit upon. That is not the whole story though.

Although I have played the album several times over the past weeks, it never came to a review. It does now. But do not get over-excited as I am not either. Eros has its strong and weak points I will try to cover them both.

SX has a few faces I discovered after delving a little deeper into the music on offer. The darker sound that comes forward in several songs, e.g. in 'Devotion', the second song, is fairly well done. The synth carries the whole, with beats of all colours behind it. The voice hovers over and interplays with the dark synth covering all up. No sparks fly, but then they shouldn't here.

Opening song 'Designed Desire' surprises me. Has Marianne Faithfull of old been teleported to the present? No, the voice reaches a higher register too easily for that. In other moments I can imagine Kate Bush having made several of these songs in 2018 had she been 20 now instead of in 1978. Parts of Eros has certainly been influenced by Kate. The mood, the way the songs progress. There's no denying here. 'Give' is a great example of that. The later Kate Bush shines through again against a dark background. SX takes it time here, it isn't in any hurry to score its points and yes, I like it.

When things get darker still I even get a Nick Cave association. That is the moment that I skip a song though. The voice of Stefanie Callebaut simply can not emulate the deepness and darkness of Nick Cave. It just doesn't work.

Some of the songs have a poppy feel so that I'm remembered of the slower songs of Roxette. In 'Real Life' the mix of the dark synths and beats with the Roxette like vocal melodies work well. Goldfrapp is a final association creeping up on me.

It is further on in the album that I am starting to think that I have heard things before. This may have to do with the fact that this electronic pop wave is not my kind of music really. Most likely, yes. Still, a little more variation over the ten songs would have worked a miracle for me at least. Perhaps a little ray of light in the darkness here and there could have changed things for me. Of course this choice is up to the band and not me.

It leaves me with an album, that I at least half enjoy, despite my bias against electronic music. So SX has scored a few points, just not enough to convince me past that point of no return. Now I remain standing on the precipice, looking down, not going over.


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