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Endless Shame – Elevator | Review by Vox Empirea

The Endless Shame were born in the 90’s in Kristianstad, Sweden, following the technologic music trend that raged on the European alternative scene: the line-up consists of three elements: Mika Rossi (sounds/live keys/live percussions), Mattias Levin (Vox/guitar) and Anders Olsson (keys / backing vox). The beginnings of the band were directed essentially to the research of a stylistic direction that could combine the electronics with different combinations such as the alternative-rock, new wave, synthpop, EBM and some forms of crossover, experiments gradually improved until the obtaining of their present sound-system in which they highlights qualities of competence and motivation, but especially cured, mature harmonies, minded with grace and one ability that gives at the whole a pleasant listening. In 2007, the project performed its first step opting directly for a complete full-length published by the label KTOWN Records label, it was the lucky “Price Of Devotion”, whose output was immediately intercepted by the specialized music media and awarded in 2008 as “the best album of the year” at the Manifestgalan of Stockholm: in the twelve songs of the tracklist one of the most deserving episodes was “Sweet Illusion”, a small masterpiece of synthpopish art, but also “Rebel Girl”, song released in the same year as maxi-single including five versions of which one remixed by the techno-electronic duo called Hard Act 2 Follow, one reworked by the electropop trio from Gothenburg known as Universal Poplab, plus one third version rebuilt by Albert Shepard, aka the hip hop musician-producer Blueprint, and a fourth one reworked by Kvantisera. During the celebration of the event mentioned above, Anders and Mika met their old acquaintance Jesper Nilsson with whom they founded the contemporary platform Autodafeh, exploring by it new EBM frontiers: in 2009 there came a second album issued by the American home A Different Drum, “Unspoken Words”, an acclaimed sonic device mainly synthpopish with vague rock-oriented references from which its great contents stood out the track “My Creation”, as well as a sleeve-image full of charm and sophistication. The recruitment at the Italian electro label EK Poduct took place in 2011: for Endless Shame it was the opportunity to release “Generation Blind”, an electro/synthpop album from which it was extracted the song “Halo”, published as maxi-single in four different versions of which one of them remixed by Autodafeh, besides the album edition of “Erase The Beautiful”, a song embellished by the violin sections of Christoph Demetriou, and the video version of “The Reaper”. The newest album “Elevator”, always distributed by EK Product, is an album that shows a look decidedly futuristic and a sound further enhanced by brilliant synthpopish formulas that arouses enthusiasm in the entire audience of the devotees to this genre. The melodies carry out a particularly active function within the structures, as well as the powerful midtempo/uptempo rhythmics elaborated by the drum-programming incite the desire to dance: “Freakshow”, the opener that starts the tracklist, manifests this description offering itself as a technological-pop inside which they burst catching vocals and keyboard elevations added at the pulsing midtempo drumming, while the following “Hear Me Now” is a track of extraordinary beauty and of immediate contagion, in my opinion the best one of the entire work, prepared on danceable beats on which they rise with fullness the synth’s apparatus and the linear wave of the sequencing, all this adorned by a chant whose great refrain propagates strophes and chords so well modulated as to be simply irresistible. “Winter Skies” accelerates its basic uptempo e-beats fixing them on the fine vocal harmonies and on the atmospheric synth’s textures, obtaining so an electronic pop-sound proposable with success to the best alternative clubs. All continues with the next song, “I Am Nothing”, also it built on a fast rhythmic-programmed implant, mellow vocals and sharp keyboard sections, the same ones that in the gritty “Lack Of Communication” punctuate the singer’s chant running fast and symmetrically with the pressing uptempo bpm’s. Into “Universe” they take turns with swiftness vigorous technopop/EBM schemes that impose dancing movement in the legs, this is due to the joint action between the dynamic cadences of drum machine, the feverish vocal cycles and the soundness of the keys-corpus. “Rites” vividly draws inspiration from the intuitions and the sensational electronic arrangements of the early Depeche Mode, artfully combining the compactness of the artificial melodies and of the midtempo programming with the synth’s detachments, with the suggestions of the vocal planning and with the alienating flows of the electric guitar. Now it’s the round of the following “Twilight Zone” and of its atmospheric synthpopish connotations generated by supple midtempo scans caressed by the warm keyboard’s mantle, piano touches, and a chant within which you can feel a melancholy aftertaste. “People Of The Sun” proposes rather an avant-garde pop full of visionary-mystical prospects, elements noticeable in the course of the vocals, in the slow drumming steps and in the obsession propagated by the keys evolutions and by the refrain. The final track “Savior” allows a last space to nostalgia expressing it in an electro-sad song characterized by a downtempo percussiveness and by a vocal anguish, for a music charged by depressed romance further highlighted by the exciting rainbows paintings by keyboards. Every song is interpreted as an exercise to be completed impeccably and with the utmost diligence, activating every possible recourse of vocal fineness and electronic orchestrations conceived with exemplary wisdom, details that give the album a reputation higher than average, as well as the full right to self-assert itself as one of the most significant releases of the entire discographic process belonging to the ensemble. The radiant Mattias vocalizations, the sophisticated but accessible keys construction and the solidity of the rhythm machine finalize an album aesthetically perfect by which the listener can experience the true essence of the new-synthpop. Those who know yet since the origins the deeds of the band, they can verify the degree of improvement reached by “Elevator”: for those who had not instead experienced the Endless Shame, they have to take immediate contact with this their umpteenth wonder.

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