Andy Bell Non-Stop Mute
Out singer Andy Bell takes a break from the tightly controlled reins of Erasure with his latest album, “Non-Stop,” a fleshier, filthier and funkier collection of songs compared to the recent offerings from the group that originally made him famous. Longtime Erasure fans shouldn’t worry. “Non-Stop” won’t sound completely alien to them as there’s familiar synthpop floating around on this album. “Running Out” and “Honey If You Love Him (That’s All That Matters)” are close to being classic Erasure tracks, which is especially impressive since the latter track was written and features vocals by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell. Elsewhere, the album takes some turns toward the darker corners of electro-pop. “Subject/Object” and the title track are sexy and almost gothic-leaning tracks. “Touch” will have anyone trying to keep up with its aggressive beat working up a sweat on the dance floor. “DHDQ,” probably the most fun track on the album, infuses Bell’s pop sensibilities with a punk-rock edge and urgency. Erasure and synthpop fans alike definitely won’t be disappointed with the places Bell takes them onthe latest “Non-Stop” ride. Evelyn Evelyn s/t Eleven Records Bisexual singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer has impressed her fans both as a solo act and as one half of the Dresden Dolls. Now, she has teamed up with folk musician Jason Webley to form Evelyn Evelyn, a fictional duo of conjoined twin cabaret musicians. To anyone who has kept up with Palmer over the last few years, this artistic detour shouldn’t come as too much of shock. If you liked her solo album or her spirited live shows, “Evelyn Evelyn” is only a step or two further down the rabbit hole. Old time carnival and sideshow musicianship abounds on tracks like “A Campaign of Shock and Awe,” Elephant Elephant” and “Have you seen My Sister Evelyn?” The duo cranks up the strangeness with arty spoken-word story tracks such as “The Tragic Events,” which comes in three parts. In the grand scheme of the album, these tracks are more honey than vinegar. But thankfully Evelyn Evelyn isn’t a one-trick freak show. There is some wonderfully orchestrated musicianship on the more complex tracks, like the haunting “Sandy Fishnets” and the new-wave-meets-glitter-rock of “My Space.” And then there’s an amazing cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” which, using a ukulele and sparse piano, turns the song on it’s ear while keeping its heartbreaking intensity. We were beginning to think Palmer was more interesting as a solo act, but with this project, we’re not so sure anymore. How to Destroy Angels How to Destroy Angels EP Independent Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor tries something new-ish with his latest band featuring his wife, singer Mariqueen Maandig, handling the main vocal duties. This six-song EP was released as a free download on the band’s website, but a higher-quality audio version available through traditional retailers. (Guess which one we opted for?) Whether free or paid for, these songs don’t disappoint. Since Reznor was the primary songwriter and singer for Nine Inch Nails, it comes as no surprise that How To Destroy Angels sounds a lot like his former group. Reznor’s taste in rhythms and sonic textures is unmistakable, especially on songs like “Parasite” and “Fur Lined,” which both sound like they were written during sessions for the last two Nine Inch Nails records. The same could be said for “BBB,” but that track has welcome swagger that separates it from the pack. Still Maandig’s impact on the songs cannot be ignored as her smooth and seductive vocals have enough of an X factor to distract from the similarities to the Nine Inch Nails sound. Fans looking for a sonic departure from Reznor might find some comfort in “The Believers” or the ethereally spaced out “A Drowning.” The EP offers a decent enough batch of songs but Reznor might want to stretch a little more creatively lest people start thinking of this group as Nine Inch Nails with a new singer. Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].