Sep 2013 04

Gentleman Junkie - Soul to SoulGentleman Junkie
Category: EBM / Electro
Album: Soul to Soul
Stars: 3
Blurb: Despite its romantic pulse and danceable currents, Soul to Soul is constantly one step away from realizing its potential, but also one step past those albums that you can afford to miss without any regret.


In a genre plagued by shallow mimicry and lazy backtracking through the ravaged landscape of EBM clichés, those truly meaningful records are forced to execute their premise with precision and focus. Gentleman Junkie, with the act’s second release, attempts to infuse the familiar mechanism with hints of alien flavors, but while individual tracks seem to briefly soar above the predictable sound, Soul to Soul as a whole only occasionally registers as truly meaningful and impactful.

With production confidently commandeered by Rotersand’s Krischan, Gentleman Junkie’s Ed Korn and Nabil Kassem shape the record in the fire of danceable rhythms, never overwhelmed by the insisting beat, and patiently driven by melodic vocalizations. Whether it’s the dynamic bridges of “No God” or the techno energy of “Holy War” and “Life is Death,” Gentleman Junkie provides an abundance of the clutter-free EBM instrumentations that can easily fill a DJ set list, if not necessarily imprinting itself permanently in the listener’s consciousness. The most romantic of tracks on Soul to Soul offer some of the band’s most interesting material. The songs like “Life is Death” or “The Knife” effortlessly traverse the border between pop and club fodder and benefit from solid vocal work that on other parts of the album has a tendency to settle in one annoying monotone. On “The One for Me,” it is difficult to discern whether the permeating vibration in Korn’s voice is an effect of Gentleman Junkie’s extended experiment from “Shivoham” or rather a permanent feature. “Shivoham” itself is confused, rich in enticing oriental ingredients but neither committed enough to testing its impact on the fully bodied electronic composition nor aware of the needlessly meandering flow. The additional remixes generally do nothing interesting to make up for the shortcomings of the original arrangements (“Shivoham”) or capitalize on their strengths (“To be the King”) and the expected standard of the work of Tom Shear or Kevorkian Death Cycle do not extend the value of the release.

Soul to Soul is a truly strange beast that at one hand manages to fulfill its basic musical promise and on the other fails to see its aesthetic through with the necessary aplomb. It’s a crisp and accessible sound and the fusion of mild electro and catchy choruses provides Soul to Soul with the instantaneous appeal of an album destined to play out on the industrial dance floors. Gentleman Junkie’s latest deserves to be heard even if it doesn’t earn a spot at the top of the heap.
Track list:

  1. No God
  2. Shivoham
  3. The One for Me
  4. Holy War
  5. Killing Time
  6. Never Again
  7. Life is Death
  8. To be the King
  9. So Far
  10. The Knife
  11. I Want You to Know (Remixed by Assemblage 23)
  12. Shivoham (Remixed by Kevorkian Death Cycle)
  13. To be the King (Remixed by Naloiv)
  14. To be the King (Remixed by [A]Brilliant Massacr[E])

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Negative Gain Productions Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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