I have to start this review with something of a confession, I really don't know much about B-Movie other than the fact that they are one of the bands featured on the Some Bizarre compilation - which was released to showcase the emerging generation of electronic acts back in 1981. The album also featured Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and Blancmange) - and their underground US hit 'Nowhere Girl'.
As a result I've spent a lot of time thinking about who B-Movie remind me of on this new album, 'The Age of Illusion', the band's second album and their first new material for over twenty-five years. I realise that comparisons can be misleading therefore it may, or may not, be useful to know that I wrote down Simple Minds, John Foxx, Furniture and The Stranglers.
Simple Minds I've included because, in their earlier material in particular, they very neatly combine electronics with rock which is something that runs through 'The Age of Illusion' and is particularly evident in tracks like 'Other People's Lives' and 'To the Ends of the Earth'.
John Foxx is there because I can hear him in a lot of the vocal performances on songs like 'Echoes' and 'The Dreamers' but also musically on the tracks that take a more overtly electronic approach such as the atmospheric, hypnotic 'Dark Lines' and the sweeping, glacial 'She's A Car Crash'.
Furniture and The Stranglers made the list because I wanted to describe Steve Hovington's vocal style because that's so important to the overall sound of the album. He has a voice that is deep, rich and emotional which that, for me, recalled firstly Furniture on their hit 'Brilliant Mind', and then Hugh Cornwell on The Stranglers' slower, more moody and atmospheric tracks like 'European Female' or 'Midnight Summer's Dream'.
For me 'The Age of Illusion' is a little of all those things without being a copy of any of them, but perhaps it's more important to put comparisons to one side and just say this is one of my favourite records this year.
Other People's Lives / Perfect Storm / She's A Car Crash / Zeitgeist / The Dreamers / Razor's Edge / Echoes / To The Ends of the Earth / Dark Lines
'The Age of Illusion' was released in the UK on March 28th 2014 on CD and via download.
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