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Siinai - Heartbreaking Bravery (with Moonface) CD (album) cover




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4 stars SIINAI is a Finnish instrumental group. The Krautrock category perhaps fits stylistically for their debut album Olympic Games (though personally I'd prefer to have "Krautrock" only as a historical term concerning German music). This second album is completely a different case. On the cover the performer is marked as "Moonface with Siinai", not the other way round, but since Siinai is responsible of most of the composing and playing (the singing and lyrics are Moonface's, naturally), the inclusion of this collaboration shouldn't be against any standards. Moonface is the Canadian indie rocker Spencer Krug, also known from Wolf Parade. He wasn't familiar to me.

The album starts with a slow-tempo title track which immediately proves how perfectly the two musical entities click together. The band sound is bright and elegant, featuring some elements of Ambient, Post-rock and Dream Pop, with a solid rhythm. And on top of it, cool, economic lyrics sung by an impressive voice somewhere between DAVID BOWIE and JOHN CALE. 'Yesterday's Fire' increases tempo and is rockier in general, but also in it the spacey piano chords stick out nicely from the sound. 'Shitty City' with its energetic percussion pattern has a feel of a U2-like pop anthem. Overall there's plenty of the early 80's synth pop aesthetics in this album, but in a pleasant way.

On my first listening I got a strong association towards the Berlin era (Brian Eno collaborating) David Bowie, albums like Low and "Heroes". For Krug's voice and the Ambientish brightness in the soundscapes this isn't a bad reference at all, but for the songs themselves there isn't much similarities I guess. The special sonic atmosphere is very essential in the best songs such as the opener and 'Quickfire, I Tried'. It's easy to imagine how boringly monotonous these songs would be if performed by a middle-of-the-road rock group.

The only instrumental, '10,000 Scorpions', is a 2-minute sonic experiment that brings me submarinal inner images - and to you possibly something else. It's seamlessly followed by a song in which the album's somewhat alienated and SciFi-like atmosphere is strong. A minimalistic approach is taken further by 'Headed for the Door' that at first contains only a drum beat and a synth carpet. It grows passionately, featuring also a letter reading ("Dear Sarah, I heard that you've grown into a goth..."). The closing track is another majestic and elegant slow-tempo song full of emotion. If you like synth-oriented art pop of e.g. JAPAN / DAVID SYLVIAN, certain albums of DAVID BOWIE, TALK TALK etc, I'm sure you enjoy this unique collaboration. Not prog, but an excellent addition to a many-sided rock music collection.

Report this review (#1270929)
Posted Saturday, September 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Amazing!

Turn back to the 80's at its best New Romantic synth- era, faithfully replayed and re-modeled into the 21st century with refined retro-electronics, with a keen and perfect balance between raw electronic experimentation and straight forward creative dance rock fast and slow rhythms and melodies.

The full of emotion/ emotionless voice of Moonface (Spencer Krug), may remind you of Gary Numan's, John Foxx's, Peter Murphy's, Robert Smith or even Bowie's apocalyptic love intonations , so re-visiting this doomsday's heartbreaking atmospheres feels so comfortable and then again fresh as new.

After all central europe and the UK sheltered the best of the 80's underground and above ground synth-wave movement's musicians, but then again not exactly from Finland and Siinai comes from Finland so expect "FinRock" to fit the KrautRock Prog-labeling.

Siinai's, 2012, "Heartbreaking Bravery" (with Moonface), is above all perfectly written song by song to the point where harvoring past 80's stylings is credible as it also feeds from other electronic names, so blending influences like Bowie, U2 , The Cure or Underworld with Ultravox or the early and later Depeche Mode, or the irreverent The B-52's or the shamefully forgotten The Beloved or the well known Bahaus makes sense.

Uplifting and downlifting 80's synth/styles at its best.

****4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1441161)
Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | Review Permalink

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