May 2017 13

The Sweetest Condition - We Defy OblivionThe Sweetest Condition
Category: Electro / Rock
Album: We Defy Oblivion
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: As danceable as the band’s debut, The Sweetest Condition ups the ante on this sophomore outing, with heavier electronics, rockier guitars, and more venomous lyrics to make for a leaner, meaner helping of electro/rock.


 

Without sacrificing the darkly melodic and danceable aspects that dominated much of the band’s sound on the acclaimed Edge of the World debut, The Sweetest Condition has upped the ante with this sophomore outing. With a greater emphasis on the rockier textures that helped give the duo a singular edge, We Defy Oblivion is a decidedly tougher outing that takes a firm step toward establishing an identity that is more than the sum of its influences. Leslie I. Benson’s vocals are as emotive as ever with the kind of richness and depth normally relegated to blues/rock singers, while her defiant lyrics in tandem with Jason Reed Milner’s forceful sonic constructions, full of striking electronics, infectious beats, and scalding guitars, make for a slickly seething production.

Tracks like “Burn This City” and “Deconstructing” pulsate with the kind of in-your-face bass and beats that are sure to get club-goers flocking to the dance floor, Benson’s arresting words hitting the right level of rhythmic catchiness along with the sustained guitar hooks. Equally energetic and acerbic are tracks like “Don’t Cross Me” and “Nein Nein Nein,” on which Benson’s slightly atonal, almost mechanically relentless vocal harmonization adds just a touch of menace to what are already some aggressive electro/rock tracks, Milner’s interplay of distorted synths and guitars creating a biting atmosphere that is sure to cause more than a few violent gyrations in listeners. This is especially so on “Keep Turning Me On,” the stabs of guitar and thunderous drumbeats tempered only by sweeps of chilled electronics, while “Vices” bounces with the kind of slithery funkiness that will transport many back to the earliest days of the ‘80s. On the other hand, “Unforgiven” pulsates with synths that are almost percussive in their steely tones, offset by touches of twinkling piano, grinding guitars, and Benson’s vocal layers, reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails. Indeed, the vocal refrain of “Unforgiven” reminds this writer of “Now I’m Nothing,” but with enough of its own character that it stays in the realm of homage.

The Sweetest Condition has certainly taken the initiative with this second album to expand on the band’s strengths, staying true to the rock-meets-synthpop influences that defined the duo’s earlier material and adding a touch of volume and venom to make for a leaner, meaner helping of electro/rock. We Defy Oblivion is as danceable as Edge of the World, but rocks just a little harder, with Benson and Milner not afraid to let their abrasive lyrical and tonal qualities overtake them just enough to ensure that The Sweetest Condition is not too sweet for those with a taste for the darkly bitter. Bravo!
 
Track list:

  1. Deconstructing
  2. Faithless
  3. Don’t Cross Me
  4. Knock Us Down
  5. Keep Turning Me On
  6. Vices
  7. Depths of Hell
  8. Burn This City
  9. Nein Nein Nein
  10. Unforgiven

 
The Sweetest Condition
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
Bandcamp
 
2016-11-04
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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