Glenn Gregory and Berenice Scott lace weaving synths, vulnerable vocals, and sound-tracking atmosphere together, to create an interesting and unique album that embraces their 80’s pop sensibilities without losing touch with a modern dynamic sound.
Title track ‘Addict’ is where we begin, a track that swells and grows, swirling into a dream sequence of delicate vocals, supported by a lattice of relentless (yet subtle) percussion. Piano and bass lines grow and fall away, each allowing the other the spotlight. The contrast between warbling synths and reversed-cymbal effects is particularly effective; they take you to a realm of sci-fi fantasy, and intelligently embedding that sonic idea into this album opener makes for a genuinely interesting soundscape.
As the album progresses, what one can expect from the following 10 songs is totally flipped upside down. There’s delicate ballads, in the form of ‘A Place to Be’ (Track 4), where Scott leaves her vocals exposed and vital against a backdrop of keys and intelligent samples. And then again, it’s surrounded by bouncing, danceable bops in the form of ‘It’s OK’ (Track 3) and ‘Breaking Rules’ (Track 5). Does it work? I think so!
‘Darkstar’ (Track 6) follows, ominous to build, with Gregory’s vocals nicely interlocking with Scott. Again, we return to sci-fi inspired spaceship sounds floating above legato piano and percussion. Perhaps such ominous instrumentals require more ‘oomph’ in the choruses; something to give it more of a kick, more guts, more darkness.
A storm setting to yet another powerful yet delicate vocal performance greets us in ‘After The Night’ (Track 7); emotive electro-pop is how I can best sum up this track. There is a genuine tension built by sounds of thunder, though this effect is not overused. I’m less sold by Afterhere’s interpretation of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ however, and it is perhaps from this moment that the album fades away for me. I would’ve loved to have heard a cover that has not already been overdone; something more left-field may have better suited an album that is trying to approach the past and future in a unique way.
Final tracks ‘I Won’t Cry’, ‘Unbroken’, and ‘Worship’ carry less impact than the tracks that came before the ill-fated cover, and perhaps the one takeaway problem I have with this album that promised so much in the first 7 tracks is that, as brilliant as Berenice Scott’s vocal performance is, the energy and atmosphere I was greeted with in the ballads surrounded by upbeat grooving 80s beats is somewhat lost towards the end of the release.
By no means does this mean that the album is ineffective and what it is trying to achieve; it is a well-produced, well-written, and brilliantly performed venture back in time that clings on to the world in which it was written. Yes, I could’ve enjoyed the backend of this release more, but I wholeheartedly believe that when an album from a genre and era of music I know very little about can have such an atmospheric and uplifting effect, it will be worth your while to give it a listen!