Nothing To Confess is the second electro stomp from the collaboration of vocalist Oliver Spring of Sleepwalk / tEaR!dOwN / Nerve Conflict ) with No Comment keyboardists René Ebner and Thomas Kowalzik which goes under the name Nine Seconds. The successor to their successful and well received debut Poladroids of 2013, the project’s new album is an insatiable march of synth pop driven EBM. It is bursting with electro anthems which simply declare defiance from feet and enjoyment as unacceptable. That is a strong weapon for any album to have and a potent essence to Nothing To Confess but to temper its success, it is not always backed up by songs which forge a lingering grip or leave expectations challenged. To be honest though with the infectious tenacity and magnetism the album holds it is a missed opportunity easy to forgive.
Flickering electro sounds open up first track Attractive Lies, their one dimensional coaxing leading to a more flavoursome web of synth spawned enterprise and harsher rock energy. Vocally Spring brings raw texture to the song too, his coarse melodic roar cradled in a tantalising blend of causticity kissed endeavour and hook lined virulence. In no time the song is a contagious antagonist dragging body and emotions into its aggressive devilry and setting up listener and album for the following adventures, starting with Antistar Machinery. The second song has an even darker character and ferocity to its hypnotic enticing which with a similar trait to the vocals, is swiftly dominating attention and imagination. Holding a nice strain of harsh industrial belligerence in its infection fuelled persuasion too, the song continues the strong and impressive start of the release.
To be fair no track ever lets that stature drop too far but some lack the same stirring spark, such as Borderland (2nd Attempt) with its pungent intimidating atmosphere over a rebellious smile of sound, though this lurks more than unleashes its inhibitions. It is intriguing and again easy bait for dance-floors with a healthy spice of bands like Depeche Mode and early Ultravox to its sinew sculpted provocation. The lack of that particular addictive essence which ignited its predecessors is the key to its inability to stay with the listener long term, especially once Pompeii energetically bubbles in ears next and quickly takes all thoughts and focus in its arms. Exhausting in its sonic persistence and vigorous movement, the track is an irresistible lure turning Nothing To Confess back into an epidemic of sound and temptation.
As Waiting For The Last Kiss plays next, the vocals reveal one of the limitations of the release. Though Spring is a potent presence and vocal agitator, there is at times no daring in the Nine Seconds – Nothing to confessdelivery and diversity of his attack. This admittedly is more a flavouring of the scene rather than something specific to the band itself but it is telling that the better moments on the album see him and the band stretching that aspect more. The song itself is an enjoyable if familiar design and another soon put aside as firstly the sinister instrumental Malfunction 09 encourages the imagination and The Forgotten Man provokes the appetite with its eighties post punk/electro punk spiced challenge.
No Shut Eye (Fight Back mix) ferments nicely in the ears next; it’s fiery heart and similarly inflamed creativity an evocative proposal which suggests sonic anarchy more than it actually realises. The song makes for a tempestuous enticing though No Shuffle soon puts it in its place with a tapestry of robotic beats, android like vocals, and an engrossing weave of effervesce electro invention prone to psychotic eruptions. It is a thrilling and dynamic slice of electro revelry stealing top honours from those earlier successes.
The album’s last unique track is Planet On Fire, a journey through a sultry ambience by portentous vocals and a fiercely smouldering intensity. It is another excellent canvas for the imagination to play, though for once feet are left to amuse themselves by the thought provoking exploration. The track shows another side to the band’s exploration in songwriting and makes for an intriguing conclusion to the album.
Nothing To Confess actually ends with the obligatory genre remixes; here Waiting For The Last Kiss being given a Nine Seconds vs Cryo Club Mix and Attractive Lies a Nine Seconds vs Mind.In.A.Box reworking whilst Antistar Machinery is treated to a Nine Seconds vs Leaether Strip interpretation. It is the main body of the album which impresses though. Yes it feels like there is a classic lurking within the release which the band could not quite find but when it sounds this enjoyable and provides an hour of body inciting tempting it is hard to imagine too many worrying.