Oct 2012 01

Raindancer - Hearts and MachineryRaindancer
Category: Synthpop
Album: Hearts and Machinery
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Catchy pop hooks and bouncy electro beats make this synthpop-by-the-numbers album hovering right at the point of average, doing little to standout among the rest.


Synthpop is a tricky genre, and while it is not without its merit, it is the opinion of this writer that a great deal of the music that falls within the category sounds very much the same. Case in point: Hearts and Machinery, the latest album from the Swedish duo of Thomas Sandberg and Erik Skalin – collectively known as Raindancer. From the first pumping electro beats, bouncy sequences, saccharine and dark vocal melodies a la Skalin’s smooth tenor on opening track “A Road and a Reason,” one could easily mistake the song for the likes of Iris, And One, or even a lost Depeche Mode classic. It is in this that Raindancer’s sound and style fails to impress, for it is all very tightly produced and excellently performed, and it is clear that the duo has put in a lot of effort and care to make their music enjoyable – just as good pop music should be, right? Certainly, with songs like “Hope Flickers” with its assortment of classic synth bleeps and sweeps that will surely remind many of Kraftwerk, topped off by an infectiously danceable beat and vocal melodies too catchy not to hum along to, “Race with the Devil” with its up-tempo rhythms and stuttering keys reminiscent of some of the lesser known songs of A-Ha, or “My Way Home” with it swirls of faux-strings, sweet piano accompaniment, and Skalin’s lush vocal harmonization, Raindancer is quite adept at producing pristine, polished synthpop sure to appease genre fans. Songs like “The Damage Has Been Done” and “Angel” are as sardonic and melancholy as one could want, with just the right amount of uplifting melody to keep listeners coming back for more. And yet, for all of their proficiency, Skalin and Sandberg simply don’t go above and beyond to standout. Hearts and Machinery is enjoyable enough, adhering to all of the tried and true tropes of electro with mass appeal. However, the album does little to distinguish itself from other contemporary synthpop releases, making Raindancer’s third album little more than average.
Track list:

  1. A Road and a Reason
  2. Catch Me When I Fall
  3. Hearts and Machinery
  4. Hope Flickers
  5. The Day You Walked Away
  6. My Way Home
  7. Race with the Devil
  8. Angel
  9. The Damage Has Been Done

Raindancer MySpace http://www.myspace.com/raindancermusic
Raindancer Facebook https://www.facebook.com/raindancermusic
Divided Productions
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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