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The Birthday Massacre - Superstition (2014) - Review

Band: The Birthday Massacre
Album title: Superstition
Release date: 8 November 2014
Label: Metropolis Records

01. Divide
02. Diaries
03. Superstition
04. Destroyer
05. Surrender
06. Oceania
07. Rain
08. Beyond
09. The Other Side
10. Trinity

I believe it is utterly unnecessary to give a thorough introduction to the Canadian outfit The Birthday Massacre (TBM), as they have - in their 15 year lasting existence – managed to create a name for themselves with their own sound, combining vintage synthpop smashing flamboyant sound with raw alternative rock and smooth gothic rock insertions. Superstition, the latest effort of the sextet, is visually again covered in the band's signature purple colours and just by that you can already feel you'll again encounter a world where you can either walk through the bubbly joyful pink lands or on the other hand take a trip into the cold and introspective world of blue. While Superstition may seem light-weight at first, containing 10 track, with easily memorable and quite unadorned titles, merely 39 minutes in length and exploding retro-popish sound, you will get to unveil the many spherical layers of its music, that make Superstition the best TBM album up to date.

Superstition is at the same time homage of the band's entire discography up to this very point, a surprising successor to Hide And Seek and a valorous pilgrimage in their further artistic development. The opening "Divide" will conquer you with its upbeat and eerie melody and a bit of a theatrical approach and at the same time present you the wonderful dichotomy TBM can so easily and seemingly effortless integrate in their sound. While the beginning of the song velvety builds its tempo and energy towards the bewitching chorus as you will peer deeper and deeper into the songs you'll find yourself being blown away with the underlying profound, heavier and darker atmosphere created by Chibi's growls and exploding guitar riffs. The following "Diaries" swoops in a similar direction, while "Superstition" opens a whole chapter, being far more introspective and self-contemplating. The absolute dark side of TBM's sound is staged in the haunting and cataclysmic "Destroyer"; an obscure and captivating track, which comes incredibly near to a raw industrial sound at the moment and developed further in the melancholic and passionately gloomy "The Other Side". Out from the abyss of darkness, there comes the flirtatious "Oceania" and a full-spirited, motivational and joyous "Beyond", both which could easily top the pop charts somewhere in the mid 80s. And then there is "Rain". A song that had me in a moment: catchy, sentimental and beyond romantic. The perfect lovers serenade. Enchanting your mind and heart to let go of everything; to step out while it's gently raining in the midsummer day and feel the raindrops fall on your skin: so carefree, careless and head over heels in love. It wasn't until many listens, that I actually came upon drawing parallels with the mega bombastic hit "Come Undone" by the great Duran Duran from their 1993 The Wedding Album, especially if you focus on the vocal lines at the very beginning. No harm done though, as both Chibi and Simon LeBon really know how to deliver their vocal work and express such a wide array of emotions with it. It would be a sin though, if I would go by without mentioning the atmospheric, instrumental outro track, "Trinity", which wraps out the album so wonderfully with its tranquil and heart-breaking, yet at the same time hopeful and delightful atmosphere.

As I mentioned TBM's vocalist Chibi several times now, I feel obligated to expose her vocal work as one of the absolute strengths of Superstition. Not only has she so fluently swayed from her angel-like, sweet, clean vocals to delivering most fearsome and expressive growls, but her changing of styles exceeds on so many levels and adds such a great value to overall ambiance of the sound. Musically, everything on Superstition falls on its place; the dense use of retro synthesizers, emphasized sampling, precise rhythm section and straightforward guitars. Years of musicianship indeed do show when it comes to The Birthday Massacre, as this album is undoubtedly their absolutely best. They have proven they know just how to shift through various musical styles that influence their sound and put each and every one of those in faultless equilibrium.

Superstition is an album every TBM fan would and should like and an album that 80s new romantics meets synthpop meets flirty and rich in sound pop music nostalgics should find pleasure in. However, do not take this album too easily nor for granted; take your time, make it worth your while. Unveil the layers one by one and don't be afraid to take a look around to find its deepest and darkest corners. More than noteworthy release that can be proud to present itself with its shining diversity, uncompromising coherence, larger-than-life melodies and obsolete tranquility all in one.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10