Jun 2011 20

Cover Image
Neutral Lies
Category: Synthpop
Album: A Deceptive Calm
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: An unabashedly retro sythpop album that unfortunately doesn’t quite cut it in the vocal department.


With the plethora of synthpop acts out there, it can sometimes be difficult for a band to distinguish itself from the herd; this French synthpop duo, Neutral Lies has decided to take the retro approach in their quest for individuality. Steeped in classic synths and an overall more simplistic style, Neutral Lies unquestionably captures the desired ‘80s feel, showing shades of classics such as Depeche Mode or Thomas Dolby, but unfortunately, a frequently flat vocal performance keeps A Deceptive Calm from being close to on par with albums from those classic artists.

Early on, Neutral Lies shows off what they’re capable with the supremely visual “Commuters” that captures the same kind of feel as Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” and conjures visions of the flow of passengers and trains through a crowded terminal. Unfortunately, immediately afterwards, they show how low they can sink with “S.X. Girls” as the goofy ear-piercing synth arrangements, painful attempts at harmonized vocals, and silly lyrics will leave the listener dumbfounded and in disbelief. From there, the album becomes a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Neutral Lies shows off some impeccably haunting composition like in “Between Glasses and Rewards” and “Waking Up On the Battlefield,” which do manage to successfully gel with the slightly off vocals, but they also show off how wince-inducing the vocals can be in tracks like “Rose in the Coffin” and “Nostalgia” as some nicely put together tracks are torpedoed by flat, off-key vocals.

Synthpop is a very vocal-centric musical genre, and unfortunately, Neutral Lies doesn’t quite have the vocal chops to carry their music. In the end, A Deceptive Calm is the sort of album that will likely be a guilty pleasure for many people. The vocals are sometimes a little cheesy and frequently seem to hit the wrong note, but the music is a fun, well put together throwback that is likely to put a smile on your face. Neutral Lies definitely has a great, stripped down sound that will keep the listener coming back for more, but the vocals are just as likely to drive that listener away after a song or two.
Track list:

  1. (In Your) Neutral Eyes
  2. Commuters
  3. S.X. Girls
  4. Introspection
  5. Between Glasses and Rewards
  6. Laugh at First Sight
  7. Rose in the Coffin
  8. Waking Up On the Battlefield
  9. Le Fou d’Echec
  10. Nostalgia
  11. Slough of Despond

Neutral Lies Website http://www.neutrallies.online.fr
Neutral Lies MySpace http://www.myspace.com/neutrallies
Neutral Lies Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/NEUTRAL-LIES/112746885429825
BOREDOMproduct Website http://www.boredomproduct.online.fr
BOREDOMproduct MySpace http://www.myspace.com/productofboredomonline
BOREDOMproduct Facebook http://www.facebook.com/boredomproduct
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Trubie Turner (Flexei)

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