Oct 2012 01

Victor Sierra - Electric RainVictor Sierra
Category: Steampunk
Album: Electric Rain
Stars: 1.5
Blurb: Charisma free and conflicted, Parisian steampunkers posit a soundtrack for your next cosplay event.


The mainstream media’s fascination with the nascent steampunk movement a few years ago seems to have subsided. This comes as a relief to scenesters offended by the sudden influx of top hat adorned, plastic laser gun wielding cosplay acolytes into the most hallowed of scene locales, the nightclub. Industrial culture, it was said, shared common ground – both musically and aesthetically – with this emerging sub-subculture. Yet, the steampunk movement was never able to define exactly what its music was supposed to sound like. A number of different acts were posited to be the supposed standard bearer of the steampunk sound. Other bands, such as the Strand, had the mantle laid upon their shoulders simply based on a style of dress affected at live shows.

Into this sputtering hodgepodge of music and costume strides Paris based Victor Sierra, a band which exists solely as a steampunk artifact and is emblematic of that subculture’s failure to define itself in a meaningful way. Electric Rain, Victor Sierra’s first full-length album is an often painful collision of musical styles. Sometimes hard rock, sometimes techno, sometimes smoky Parisian nightclub, Electric Rain is unified only by the sense that the band would rather be writing science fiction novels set in the “world” in which their music takes place… or perhaps LARPing in top hats and frock coats.

The songs on Electric Rain are meant to express a sense of daring adventure and mystery of the orient, but are for the most part cringe inducing. Lead vocalist Anouk Adrien has taken a punk rock approach to her style of not actually being able to sing. This works out fine in the anti-aesthetic of punk or the heavily processed method of industrial but fails terribly in a heavily rock influenced environment. Especially painful is Adrien’s rendition of ‘White Rabbit,” a song which requires serious vocal chops to even consider covering. “Scratch My Door” and “Labertino” are passable songs, although even as the best on this album, they are undermined by sound design that comes across like cheap presets. These songs are followed immediately by “Mastermind,” with lyrics that are as teeth grating as they are bombastic.

It feels as though the steampunk movement missed its moment. As industrial moves forward to be redefined by dubstep, witch house, and the retro new wave sound, steampunk seems to have accepted its place at the margins of comic con culture – top hats, goggles, laser guns, and bands like Victor Sierra playing live.
Track list:

  1. El Topo
  2. The Road Not Taken
  3. Blood in the Skies
  4. Putsh
  5. Make My Day
  6. White Rabbit
  7. Scratch My Door
  8. Labertino
  9. Mastermind
  10. Yiddish Klub
  11. Bridge to Nowhere

Victor Sierra MySpace http://www.myspace.com/victorsierra/music
Victor Sierra Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Victor.Sierra.band
Victor Sierra ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/victorsierra
Victor Sierra Bandcamp http://victorsierra.bandcamp.com
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Brendan Leonard (vonruthven)

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