Feb 2018 03

Aesthetic Perfection - Ebb and Flow (Single)Aesthetic Perfection
Category: Synthpop / Electro-pop
Album: Ebb and Flow (Single)
Blurb: Daniel Graves delivers his latest helping of “industrial pop,” a single so sickly sugary sweet that may require those without a taste for it to chug a few gallons of milk to re-calcify their now brittle and eroded bones.


In the ReView for Aesthetic Perfection’s previous Rhythm + Control single, which at that time had presented the project’s most severe transition away from its harsh electro/industrial beginnings toward a poppier sound, this writer had expressed confusion as to what audience the band was aiming for. Now with this latest Ebb and Flow single, the answer is quite simply… not me! Many would argue that in the industrial genre, any notions of pop sensibility simply should not be present given the experimental, confrontational, and decidedly anti-mainstream mentality that informed the genre’s beginnings and most prominent proponents. On the other hand, some like this writer would argue that the catchy and melodic aspects of pop have never been completely shunned in industrial, even as widespread accessibility remained (quite deliberately) elusive or eschewed. Over the years, we’ve heard a plethora of artists blend the seemingly disparate qualities of industrial and pop, resulting in a myriad of subgenres that ultimately become obsolete as quickly as they are coined. Even I have long held the belief that genres and categories and the steadfast adherence to them has been more of an impediment to musical growth. As such, one might forgive Daniel Graves – who, after all, named his band Aesthetic Perfection – for having the gumption to apply the term of “industrial pop” to his current musical inclinations. However, that one… would not be me. Having long expressed a certain disdain for the industrial scene to such a degree that he has stated that he feels little to no connection to it, it seems dubious – or even downright affronting – to continue to use the term; this writer likens Graves’ term of “industrial pop” to the late Robin Williams’ joke about moving out of the parents’ house while still wishing to receive money from them. Granted, industrial has never been a lucrative pursuit, so why do it? Why suck on the teat of industrial only to spew it back out like this? Listening to the two songs on Ebb and Flow, one would really be hard pressed to hear an effective merger of the coldly acerbic sounds of industrial with the hooky melodies of pop that couldn’t simply be referred to by any number of other terms, not the least of which being synthpop. Sure, “Ebb and Flow” hits hard with a thrusting beat and accompanying vocal grunts, coupled with electronic vocoder effects that almost sound like an attempt to replace the millennial whoop. Throughout the song, Graves delivers banally saccharine lyrics as he alternates between catchy hip-shaking melodies and abrasive screeches, the bridge seeing him wander into a very ill-advised falsetto howl. The accompanying Miggiddo remix takes the song firmly into bubblegum territory with its pumping dance beats, glitchy vocal effects, and ambient swells; those without a taste for this, like me, might feel the need to brush their teeth from the pure sugary sweet overdose of these two tracks, but that’s until the cover of N*SYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye.” One doesn’t have to be a fan of the boy band hit of 18 years ago to at least try to appreciate Graves’ infusion of some dark atmosphere into the song, slowing its tempo and adding the shimmering guitars of Nikki Misery to turn it from a bouncy romp into a gloomy lament, devoid of the sort of irony that would give it a satirical edge. Well, I suppose it could’ve been worse, but I wouldn’t call it clever. As well, from a pop standpoint, removing the echoing hook of the original renders this version somewhat impotent, but hey… it was disposable tripe to begin with. Ebb and Flow is par for Aesthetic Perfection’s current course further into darkly electronic pop, and the band’s fans seem to enjoy it thanks to Graves’ slickly – or should that be sickly? – sweet production. These critiques might sound less than enlightened, and maybe that’s part of Graves’ own cynical modus operandi, to expose a hypocritical inability to accept new sounds in a scene that prides itself on the opposite. He might’ve had a point if not for the fact that pop music has worked its way into various forms of industrial, with KANGA being among the best current examples along with Garek and Ghostfeeder, while ohGr and even Depeche Mode (remember Construction Time Again?) have been heralded for industrialized takes on pop music. I can’t help but think of even contemporaries like Blaqk Audio and Apoptygma Berzerk as having achieved this pop flavoring somewhat more successfully, and they never stooped to covering a boy band.
Track list:

  1. Ebb and Flow
  2. Ebb and Flow [Miggiddo Remix]
  3. Bye Bye Bye

Aesthetic Perfection/Close to Human Music
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

1 Comment

  1. Megan Mears says:

    What happens when my LiveJournal from when I was 14 becomes sentient.

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