Soundslab - Empirical State
- Artist: Soundslab
- Album: Empirical State
- Label: The House Ablaze
- Year of Release: 2011
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: digitalbath on 2011-05-28
Soundslab goes retro with their 2011 debut, Empirical State. Right off the bat, one can pick out a strong 80's industrial/alternative/electronic influence. At first, I was almost convinced that I was listening to a Depeche Mode album, until I re-read the artist. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, however. The world is definitely ready for some more lo-fi beats and Barry James McCarthy (sole artist within Soundslab) pulls it off rather well. McCarthy hails originally from Britain, but now resides in Calgary, Alberta. Just because he has physically moved away from the UK, though, doesn't mean he's turned his back on his roots. This is a very British sounding pop/electronic album.
One will notice that McCarthy's vocals are more about the message of his lyrics rather than trying to show the world that he's a star singer. His singing voice has more of a spoken word quality to it that goes along rather swimmingly with his musical style. Imagine Depeche Mode's David Gahan trying to sing a Mewithoutyou track and you've got McCarthy's singing voice all over. McCarthy's beats aren't without note either. He's rather fluent at creating a big sound with his electronic accompaniment. Everything has a sort of atmospheric tinge to it with the addition of an abundance of midi throughout. The percussive (electronic) accompaniment too focuses more on world instruments rather than modern drums. You'll hear samples of more bongos and congas than you will snare drums and toms. The mood stays pretty consistent throughout the entire album and really provides something nice and mellow that one can sit back and listen to over and over.
Though this is clearly Soundslab's debut album in the sense that McCarthy doesn't seem to have written his "big hit" yet, it's certainly a great starting point. Empirical State is a great listen and is highly accessible for the casual listener. I'm excited to follow Soundslab through their career, there's no where for McCarthy to go but up!
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