Artist: VNV Nation
Release Date: 16th September 2011
Label: Anachron Sounds
Once upon a time it was 'FuturePerfect' and now, a few years later, the route is retro-futuristic on the newest VNV NATION album 'Automatic. An album that is lauded now for reasons I can't even begin to understand. Ok it is solid, but it's nothing that we haven't heard from the two before and certainly there's no big difference between this one and 'Faith, Power & Glory'. The introduction 'On Air' works with jamming transmission sounds with a gradually rising piano layer. The first actual track is 'Space & Time' that combines well-established trademarks like the clubby beat and an anthemic chorus. The impact is considerable in a live setting. Witnessed it myself. The following 'Resolution' works from an initially all-encompassing set of spherical layers, soon joined by a processed piano and an upbeat rhythm section. The parts before the chorus focus completely on Rona's vocals while the mentioned one is packed with melodies. While akin a bit to 'Nemesis' initially, 'Control' is a real neck-shaker and a stand-out club track. Sometimes a naked machine beat and dark vocals are more than enough to make a crowd go wild.
'Goodbye 20th Century' is the second instrumental on the album and creates a wistful mood by utilizing polyphonic string arrangements that are like a sonic goodbye. 'Gratitude' emphasizes mainly on the anthemic core of the melodies in conjunction with Ronan's voice, proven to be a successful combination. The first and only ballad of the album is 'Nova'. I've heard it for the first time at a festival, taking place long before the album came out. Actually it's got all that I usually adore about such tracks and technically it's a real good one but this time I don't feel anything at all. If I'm listening to 'Illusion' and I'm doing that regularly', my hairs still are standing on end. The penultimate track 'Photon' is quite a dull instrumental with no highlights but it'll be perfect to play in a trance club at night. The album is closed by 'Radio', a lengthy piece that could be heir to 'Perpetual' or 'Beloved' to some extend while never reaching the latter one's intensity. I'm sorry to say this about a VNV NATION album, because, contrary to others, I liked 'Of Faith, Power & Glory', but this one is the worst I've heard from them.
Indeed being a club-orientated album, the songs on 'Automatic' nearly all are following the same patterns, using the same means. Everything's building up to the anthemic chorus. There's no element of surprise in it whatsoever. If that is what you like nowadays people, go ahead, but I'm expecting a little more courage for experiments of a band like VNV NATION.
02. Space & Time
05. Goodbye 20th Century
08. Nova (Shine A Light On Me)
www.vnvnation.com / http://www.facebook.com/VNVNation
Total: 6 / 10