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Lovelorn Dolls - Japanese Robot Invasion (2014) - Review

Band: Lovelorn Dolls
Album title: Japanese Robot Invasion
Release date: 17 October 2014
Label: Alfa Matrix

01. Happy Valentine
02. The Thrill
03. Long Awaited Kiss
04. Japanese Robot Invasion
05. Miss Friday Night
06. Curse Of The Crab
07. Just Like Heaven
08. Blood Moon
09. Jasmina
10. Wolf Inside

What a strange album title the Belgium based duo Lovelorn Dolls choose for their sophomore album. I expected some kind of a sci-fi/cyber/electro/hi-tech Japanese stuff, but those who know the band from before know that something like that would be quite a change in their style, so don't expect any major deviations. The vocalist Ladyhell and multiinstrumentalist Corpus Christi are hidding well behind this Tim Burton kind of imaginery that could be scary for little children, but when the things get undressed we get quite an unoriginal musical body. Lovelorn Dolls are mainly just like a younger disobedient sister of Canadian heroes The Birthday Massacre, and here and there are scratching their holes out of the box by trying to insert into their musical picture varied elements that could be compared with the likes as Lacuna Coil, Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, Garbage, Mandragora Scream, The Cure and similar artists. Right, the two are still worth taking your time if you are into those bands and the music they do can be quite addictive and is professionally done.

Those who were listening to their debut album released in 2013, The House Of Wonders, which came out after a series of features on various compilations and a couple of EP's will find on the new album more versatility and more captivating elements, mostly because of more 80s wave/pop influences that in an interesting way collide with modern musical directions. Let it be alternative rock, 80s pop, synthwave, goth, industrial rock or even modern metal, but still you won't be left without a feeling that you are listening to some kind of a The Birthday Massacre forgery. Right in the beginning, when the album opens up with "Happy Valentine" you'll notice a strong resemblance to the later Mandragora Scream, but still Lovelorn Dolls are not kind of a funny joke, with heavy guitar riffs, strong artificial drum beats and sparkly yet gloomy electronics, add here catchy vocal lines and omnipresent danceable melodies, with all that they deliver quite a strong dark veiled sound. Then "Long Awaited Kiss" with its memorable refrain reminds a lot to Lacuna Coil, but still I must say that the first four tracks are not something worth any major discussion like the rest of the album, even if Lovelorn Dolls serve with more varied sound right here, especially in rather experimental but in my opinion failed out album title track.

From "Miss Friday Night" on the vibe gets smoother and even if the resemblance to many times before mentioned The Birthday Massacre gets stronger the band reaches kind of a very dynamic and captivating drive. Still if compared to the Canadian outfit, Lovelorn Dolls do miss that little something in dynamics and in overall production. Ladyhell's voice is good, characteristic, but if compared to Chibi there's missed some power, the ability to express emotions in a greater way and that seductive charm in the voice. But, especially in the extremely catchy "Curse Of The Crab" or in the retro-popy playful where The Cure's retro dark sound is more than evident - "Just Like Heaven", everything somehow falls in the right place. And then the heavy guitar driven gothy/industrial "Blood Moon" and "Wolf Inside" are fine examples of all the qualities this duo possesses. And you'll without doubt make notice of those vibrant reverberate bass lines that make the gloomy emotional atmosphere in "Jasmine" so addictive, yes, nothing but a cherry on the cake.

Japanese Robot Invasion is a good effort from Lovelorn Dolls and shows a matured band which is not here to explore new things but rather than that to make music for those who adore well performed unpretentious yet catchy songs with a pop character that clinks with heavier vibes, glam visuals, both modern and retro sounds, everything well packed in the magical imaginary world that could be compared with Tim Burton's creations. If they could only keep all those characteristics and achieve just a bit more of their own sound would be a very positive thing. But for now I can only say that this album is a must for all fans of The Birthday Massacre and of all before mentioned acts, as Lovelorn Dolls in my opinion could be counted as a fine example of a band with great potential able to enthuse even more in the future, but sure..., you'll find many things in here that are more than enjoyable.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7/10