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kirliancamera coldpills
Artist: Kirlian Camera
Title: Cold Pills (Scarlet Gate Of Toxic Daybreak)
Genre: Electronic / Darkwave
Release Date: 14th May 2021
Label: Dependent Records

Album Review

It must be satisfying, in a kind of cynical, knowing way, to watch young bands arrive in a blaze of glory, pumped up with boundless enthusiasm and self-belief, who then sink without a trace once the public has got bored of them. But as a band, or performer, spanning a number of decades there can be no smug sitting back on your increasingly padded arse and taking your longevity for granted. It’s about keeping a certain amount of relevance and vitality, it’s about never letting your guard down, but most importantly it’s about remaining interesting and having the songs to justify your existence. Two classic examples - GARY NUMAN finding himself back at the top of whatever counts as a chart these days, and selling out venues he last played in his early eighties’ pomp. And KIRLIAN CAMERA, getting themselves noticed again, rising about the competition, being relevant AND successful. Good times to be a veteran.

With new double album ‘Cold Pills’, KIRLIAN CAMERA seemingly hold nothing back in their quest to concoct the ultimate melting-pot of all that defines them. The fact that this feels effortlessly achieved shows artists absolutely at ease with themselves, basically knocking out a Greatest Hits album without even realising it. It’s all in here. The paranoid, rain-spattered Blade Runner future, the cold, emptiness of conspiracy theory and world-weary observation, the voice of Elena Alice Fossi which can break your heart in an instant, fix it back together with a warm cooing, and then shatter it in icy indifference just because she can. There are complexities here and also pop songs, there are sprawling concept pieces, there are highs and lows and everything in between, but a coherence of both narrative and competence that has never been quite perfected on previous albums, making ‘Cold Pills’ the album KIRLIAN CAMERA have always threatened to make, and finally succeeded in doing so.

And that lack of conformity that has always marked them out is evident from the off - who starts an album with an 8-minute opus? ‘The Illusory Guest’ eases itself in with doom laden synths and shimmering menace, the semi-spoken-word interludes peppered with gentle and melancholic singing, like four songs rolled seamlessly into one, and it’s glorious. The title track whisks you off to somewhere exotic and terrifying, waking you up with a smile after spiking your drink. And ‘I Became Alice’ has a big growly guitar stalking you through the verses, a relentless beat hammering alongside it, until a ridiculously huge, soaring chorus shoots you up and off and out of harm’s way. Often the instrumentals and linking tracks on previous albums have wandered into the self-indulgent or superfluous, but not here, as ‘Not True’ bridges a gap expertly from sinister to serene, ‘Crystal Morn’ being every bit as beautiful as its name would suggest. The quality never wavers throughout CD1, culminating in the superb recent single ‘The 8th President’, a bold and poised bundle of dark energy and intrigue that manages to soundtrack a thousand unmade sci-fi movies all at once.

On CD2 there is no letting up either - this is no bonus disk of additional material. Another sprawling opener, ‘Dreamlex’, gently weaves its spell, the singing flawless, swooping and diving like a melancholy swallow. ‘Dusk Religion’ - all 9 minutes of it - follows on, and it’s all been thrown into this one - stately church organ, angelic harmonies, a slow-building sense of unease. Back into that drugged, addictive dream-world again on ‘LSDay’, the more familiar KIRLIAN CAMERA pace picking up again on the sparkling ‘Phoenix Aliena’ and an almost R & B slink to the minimalism of ‘Apophenia’. ‘Blue Drug’ wanders, lost, into the picture, and seems to have no real function here before the pop shimmer of ‘Lux Industries - MMXX’ gets things focussed again, leaving the gorgeous ‘Twin Pills’ to ease us out of our mind-altering trip. You won’t want to leave, and they know it, this seductive final track not just putting you to bed, but tucking you in and bringing you a hot chocolate.

This is a remarkable album, almost entirely flawless, expertly constructed, and left to organically propagate into something far bigger than the sum of its dark, earthy roots. That it comes as a late career bloom, makes it all the more satisfying, and KIRLIAN CAMERA would do well to enjoy their moment in the sun, as they have absolutely earned it.


01. The Illusory Guest
02. Cold Pills
03. I Became Alice
04. Not True
05. Crystal Morn
06. Lobotomine 5
07. Randonists And Sleepers
08. The 8th President

01. Dreamlex
02. Dusk Religion
03. LSDay
04. Phoenix Aliena
05. Apophenia
06. Blue Drug
07. Lux Industries – MMXX
08. Twin Pills


Elena Alice Fossi
Angelo Bergamini

Website /

Cover Picture

kirliancamera coldpills


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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