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TRACK LIST: 1. The Wasted Line 7:18 2. Chimera 8:05 3. Rest Assured 5:42 4. We All Die Young 8:32 5. Telling 4:18 6. Le Berceau du Bonheur 4:06 All tracks: by Model A. LINE-UP: Patrick Wilson - guitars, g-synths Brandon Schilling - vocals Brennan Rose - drums Thierry Sertyn - bass Produced by Model A. Engineered by F. Maranzino.
Prolusion. "Transmission Lost" is the first full-length album by the US quartet MODEL A. The band, whose music is usually regarded as Indie Electro Psychedelic Rock, also has an EP titled "The Stir" from three years ago. Personally, I don't recognize the term Indie Rock, as it explains nothing actually. Besides, regardless of any latent or manifest declarations of the style's independence from anything else, it is associated exclusively with mainstream Rock. In any case, I'll try to be extremely attentive while listening to the recording so as my vision of the band's music wouldn't be at much variance with its real essence.
Synopsis. Judging by the contents of the album, the transmission of the spirit of a Cultural Revolution and related phenomenon from the second half of the '60 to the present is more than possible, as the winds of the Hippie and psychedelic movements appear in the music and lyrics, successfully blending with those of modern world. The core of the band's style as I see it is a triple union of Alternative-, Psychedelic-, and Space Rock, the brightest representatives of which are We All Die Young and Telling (4 & 5). I know that Sweden's Symphonic Art-Rock legend Landberk has nothing to do with any of the said directions, and yet, its echoes can be heard on these songs, and not only. The slight prevalence of the former component is obvious on Chimera (2), and an atmospheric Space Rock somewhere in the vein of the most melodic songs from Pink Floyd's first two albums rules on Le Berceau du Bonheur (6), which is the only instrumental here, featuring only some vocalizations. Both are good enough, but the other four tracks, being more diverse, hypnotic and, properly, progressive than these, are definitely better. Especially gorgeous are the songs The Wasted Line and Rest Assured (1 & 3), each consisting of several different vocal and instrumental themes-pictures and representing a unique, truly progressive combination of Spacey Cathedral Metal (which is unique in itself!) and Psychedelic Rock. The parts based on the nearly maniacal-heavy and hypnotic guitar riffs alternate with those made up of more fluid textures. If you have heard the first and the latest albums by England's remarkable Space Metal outfit Clear Blue Sky, "Out of the Blue" (1968) and "Mirror of the Stars" (2001), and can imagine something average between them, you'll get some idea of what these two are about. However, I must note that although I refer to the other bands, all the comparisons between them and Model A are rather relative, because only such can be applicable to music, which, like in this case, is free of direct influences. Thanks to the efficient use of guitar synthesizer, the sounds reminding those of a traditional synthesizer and, sometimes, piano form a good background for basic arrangements. Brandon Schilling's excellent high-pitched vocals are always as if laid back from the surrounding musical events, never loosing their warmth and depth. Although the man's singing rather often and clearly reminds me of both John Simms and Patrick Helje from still the same Clear Blue Sky and Landberk, respectively, I am almost sure that these resemblances are incidental. In any case, I find Brandon one of the most gifted and impressive vocalists to appear in recent years.
Conclusion. The only considerable flaw of "Transmission Lost" lies in its stylistic inconsistence, which, being in this case inseparably linked with the progressiveness as such, seriously infringes upon its interests. Nevertheless, I won't lie if I say that Model A's debut is more to my taste than most of the Neo-related albums I have reviewed this month. Of course, I would prefer that in the future the band would keep the direction laid on the heavier songs.
VM: July 31, 2004
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