Oct 2012 04

The Loyal Opposition - Under the StateThe Loyal Opposition
Category: Industrial / Electro
Album: Under the State
Stars: 3
Blurb: Perhaps a lark for the talents behind the band, this collaboration between SMP and Doll Factory is certainly enjoyable if nothing else.


The Loyal Opposition presents a quandary of sorts. As the key players in this band have certainly earned a sizeable reputation for themselves with their own respective projects, the merger of Doll Factory’s Garrick Antikajian and SMP’s Jason Bazinet would almost sound like a surefire industrial hit factory. Listening to the band’s debut, Under the State, the elements that each bring to the table are certainly recognizable from the pulsating sequences and powerful percussion to the sociopolitical commentary delivered through guttural hip-hop style vocals. With production assistance from Stiff Valentine’s Chris DeMarcus, Under the State maintains a veritable energy from start to finish, while also coming across by the end as just a little better than average.

Kicking into high gear from the onset with “Failsafe,” throbbing bass and glitchy samples give way to a breakbeat-laden track that immediately sets its sites on the modern electro dance floor. It’s by no means a bad song, but the lack of anything to truly distinguish it from the plethora of EBM and electro DJ hits already come and gone makes it a less than spectacular opening. The same can be said for later songs like “Switch” with its scratchy distortion, hard hitting beats, and dark progressions meant to evoke a creepy atmosphere akin to terror EBM if not for the clean vocals, while the title track moves at a very deliberate, marching pace that with the siren like guitar harmonics evokes an old school feel not dissimilar to Front Line Assembly at its creative peak. Other songs like “Disconnect” with its downtrodden ambience and slow cadence offset by some excellent synth sequences, and the condemning crawl of “Why I Drink” take a more sardonic approach that along with the in-your-face and satirical rapping of “Businessman” and “Khan!,” obviously most reminiscent of SMP, makes for some nice variety. On the other hand, the guitar driven strut of “Run Wild” actually sounds somewhat out of place with a beat highly evocative of early-to-mid ‘80s hard rock, with the cover of U2’s “Seconds” being an enjoyable and faithful song that might just be a little too melodic to mesh with the rest of the album’s more guttural and uncompromising feel.

To be fair, the songs on Under the State are finely crafted and not without their charm, and in the hands of such talent as Bazinet and Antikajian make for an entertaining listen. However, Under the State simply doesn’t work as a cohesive album, the style shifting too drastically from track-to-track despite a consistency of sound and production. It comes across as simply a collection of tracks done for the enjoyment of its participants, almost as a lark rather than a serious attempt at formulating a sound and style unique to The Loyal Opposition. For this, Under the State is not an essential release for any of those involved, but will at the very least get listeners banging their heads, shaking their fists, and stomping their boots.
Track list:

  1. Failsafe
  2. Businessman
  3. Under the State
  4. Why I Drink
  5. Khan!
  6. Switch
  7. Run Wild
  8. Seconds
  9. The Lost Regime
  10. Disconnect

SMP Website http://www.smphq.com
SMP MySpace http://www.myspace.com/smphq
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SMP Twitter http://twitter.com/smphq
Music Ration Entertainment
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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