Having been releasing music under his Twitch moniker since 1999, it’s actually astonishing that Shayne “Daemon_w60” Lawrence has managed to create an album like Databomb. Clocking in at just under 80 minutes across 17 tracks, the album is the artist’s most vehement statement on the social and political zeitgeist, sharply critiquing the corrupt practices of governments using misinformation to its advantage… at least, that’s the idea, except for the fact that Lawrence’s lyrics come across as rather maudlin and lacking in sophistication; it’s clear that he feels he’s making a profound statement, but coupled with a lackluster delivery that seems to vacillate between poorly sung melody and pseudo-rap spoken passages, the message is rendered impotent.
Songs like “Refuge,” “Dirty City,” and “Save the Freaks” do thankfully offer some of Databomb’s catchier moments, even if they lack a definitive hook, which reveals a shortcoming of Lawrence’s singing style – it’s as if the melodies were the result of random chance, achieved by accident rather than any forethought or actual songwriting, and when he does rap, he struggles to fit the words into a cadence that ultimately counteracts the rhythm of the instrumental. Sadly, this is not where the record’s flaws end, for the overall production is lacking in any finesse that Databomb sounds like a first demo from a fledgling band. There is a fair amount of audio phasing that occurs in each track as the sonic space occupied by the many layers of overdriven synth bass, symphonic and choral pads, sparkling arpeggios, and hollow drumbeats are constantly overtaken by Elijah Hennig’s guitars, which are admittedly performed quite excellently. As well, many of the tracks run on for far too long, the repetition of loops and phrases along with the formulaic arrangements forcing the listener to skip ahead in search of the meat of the song, if not to the next track.
With 21 years of releases and experience behind him, it’s disconcerting to think that Databomb was Shayne Lawrence’s best offering to date; or perhaps it’s better to say that he has reached that point in his development when he should seek out a more capable producer to achieve his musical vision, lest his future endeavors continue to wallow in this rather unpolished and, quite frankly, amateur level.