Jan 2013 29

8mm - Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts8mm
Category: Alternative / Electro / Rock
Album: Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: An album, like its title, existing on the crossroads between the traditional acoustic grit and modern electro sensuality.


There’s an overload of conflicting impulses that 8mm’s fifth album provokes in the listener’s head long before the first track begins to unravel its genre-bending structure. The tacky glamour of the sexually charged cover shines with the superficial sheen of plastic gold but contradicts the overwhelming success of the band’s Kickstarter campaign and the reputation that always precedes the duo of Sean and Juliette Beaven. Obviously then, you will be forced to look past the appearances and into the rich heart of their latest effort to truly discover its raw power. Supported eagerly by fans and artists alike, the release of Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts in many ways marks a highpoint of artistic independence. Having spent a chunk of his career producing albums for NIN, Marilyn Manson, and No Doubt among others, Sean Beaven speaks of his project in terms of total musical freedom. The love-stricken grit that he captures through his wife’s sensual vocal is at the center of what makes this record so special.

The opening track employs acoustic, folksy angst to pursue the elemental quality of Americana and the pairing of Sean’s and Juliette’s voices lends it a romantic dynamic that is matched by 8mm’s penchant for undiluted blues-esque experience. It’s an enticing direction for the entire album – this fusion of fundamental western sensibilities expressed through the straightforward use of guitars and percussion and the shiver inducing electro quality of captivating choruses embodied by potent female vocals. Nowhere is this union more apparent than on “Kin” where energetic melody ensnares the delivery of the lyrics and allows both to feed off each other, maintaining the impossible dynamism and energy from start to finish. The similarly devised “You Brought the Fire” replaces the high voltage rock convention with a romantically inclined, yet vigorous ballad realized in the same gritty tradition, but enriched by the layer of electronica. The trip-hopping rhythm of “Around the Sun” marks a total merger of both horizons of 8mm’s work and a throwback to considerate pacing that ceased to dominate the mainstream, but here, confidently and paradoxically reinvigorates the lush instrumentation. With the track list consisting of merely eight songs, there’s a pleasant diversity to the material on Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts, even if the album never strays from the Manichean path of acoustic and electro tropes. Sean takes lead on “The Weight of You,” filled with the fury of guitars and brought to its climax by Juliette, while “Everybody Says” slows down in anticipation of the swaying tones of the closing “Glimmering.”

It’s difficult not to be, to some degree, intrigued and captivated by the permuting energy and determination of 8mm to deliver a record that would be inseparably connected to the core of their artistic principle. In an attempt to translate their vision into music, they have achieved what seems to be a perfect balance between the two separate traditions and an intimate artistic union between Sean, Juliette, and their audience is undeniable even if the blues inspired, acoustic arrangements will not be everyone’s proverbial cup of tea.
Track list:

  1. Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts
  2. Kin
  3. Around the Sun
  4. You Brought the Fire
  5. The Weight of You
  6. The One
  7. Everybody Says
  8. Glimmering

8mm Website http://www.8mmlovesyou.com
8mm MySpace http://www.myspace.com/8mm
8mm Facebook https://www.facebook.com/8mmlovesyou
8mm Twitter https://twitter.com/8mmGirl
8mm ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/8mm
8mm SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/8mm
8mm Bandcamp http://8mmofficial.bandcamp.com
Chelsea Girl Records
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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