Apr 2024 30

Album CoverKontravoid
Album: Detachment
Category: Electro / EBM
Label: Artoffact Records
Release Date: 2024-03-01
Author: Merv Uzzell (Muzz79)


Kontravoid, the masked alter-ego of Toronto-born and L.A. based singer/songwriter Cameron Findlay returns to follow up 2021’s Faceless with Detachment. Fusing gritty EBM with sugar-coated synthpop, all infected with the gloomier environments of ‘80s and early ‘90s post-punk and industrial, the album’s 10 tracks are wrapped up in a nostalgic package while retaining Kontravoid’s distinct identity and unequivocal authentic flair. As expected, much of the LP features a brooding synth-heavy atmosphere that dramatically creeps into life with “Awaken.” Foreboding synths are juxtaposed with the tension-building thump of tribal drums before effortlessly transitioning into a mid-paced techno/EBM prowling groover; we hear Findlay’s first echo-laden vocals on the record as they leap out of the darkness chanting some undisguisable lyrics before evaporating into the ether. It perfectly sets up the melancholic dark pop of “For What It Is,” a track about feeling lost and out of place, which could certainly describe the inclusion of the following number, “Losing Game.” Conjuring up images of the days of smoky neon-filled discos and gravity-defying haircuts, it’s an unapologetic homage to ‘80s synthpop dragged into the modern era, a delicious four minutes of ear candy featuring Chelsey Crowley giving us a performance reminiscent of early Debbie Gibson or Madonna. Also co-written by the Nuovo Testamento singer, the song is almost the record’s Achilles heel, as it’s so much fun that you wait eagerly for another like it, but it never arrives. With that said, certain future live crowd pleasers like “Death Shot,” a song about drinking too much, and the chorus-driven stomp of “Sin Walker” certainly come pretty close with their intoxicating hooks. There is an inevitable shift of mood on the abrasive opening of “Reckoning,” featuring Findlay’s heavily distorted, almost demonic vocals warning us throughout that “It’s coming!” It’s a welcome intrusion of bombastic electronics and serrated-edged aesthetics to counter the syrupy sweet bubblegum pop of “Losing Game.” The galloping “How It Ends” hits with similar intensity, but with a little less tooth in its bite. Findlay said about the song’s meaning, “Have you ever felt like you know someone really well, and then you suddenly see a side of them that’s totally different and very off-putting?” One could suppose as someone hiding behind a mask that he’s asking ironically. Thankfully, there is very little to dislike about Findlay or Detachment. Sure, there are a couple of moments that probably could have been left on the cutting room floor, namely the minute-and-a-half orchestral interlude of “In Reverse.” While albums need the odd deformity, the instrumental does nothing but act as a fluffer for the closing tracks, “Fading” and “Detachment,” the former of which having a striking similarity to “Death Shot” that it could have easily forgone inclusion. All in all, it’s another solid piece of creative exploration from Findlay’s Phantomlike persona. Perhaps to diehard K-voiders, its predecessor Faceless probably may just pip it to the post… but only just! To new or casual listeners, Detachment will no doubt hit all the right taste buds, likely getting sweeter with each listen.
Track list:

  1. Awaken
  2. For What It Is
  3. Losing Game
  4. Reckoning
  5. Death Shot
  6. Sin Walker
  7. How It Ends
  8. In Reverse
  9. Fading
  10. Detachment

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Artoffact Records
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