GLOOM DIVISION by I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME- Review

I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME is a synthpop project helmed by Dallon Weekes, formerly of Panic! At The Disco. IDKHOW was previously a duo, with drummer Ryan Seaman departing in September 2023. Their debut album, “RAZZMATAZZ,” was released in 2020. While it was fairly derivative of new wave acts of years past, Weekes had a penchant for sticky hooks and fun guitar licks that made it easy to overlook the unoriginal or somewhat gimmicky elements of the project. Sadly, “GLOOM DIVISION,” his most recent effort, falls short of the ‘80s-inspired fun of that album.

It is not that “GLOOM DIVISION” is some sort of awkward left turn from “RAZZMATAZZ” — it is more of the same, to a fault. If you told me this record was a collection of B-sides from the “RAZZMATAZZ” sessions, I would believe you without question. The songs on this record feel like echoes, with vaguely quirky lyrics and flat instrumentation that leaves little for the listener to return to. The catchy choruses are still here, but somehow far less memorable this time around. Yes, they are easy to sing along to, but they lack personality. The production on the album is fine, but the mixes can feel a bit messy. The whole listen goes by in a relative blur, with the occasional moment that stands out nicely or sticks out like a sore thumb. It is a record that feels devoid of fun, despite how similar it is to its predecessor. “RAZZMATAZZ” felt like it was made with heart, and “GLOOM DIVISION” feels like trying to recapture a memory.

“GLOOM DIVISION” is not a bad record by any means, and hardcore fans of IDKHOW may find it enjoyable. However, I cannot recommend it in good conscience. I only recommend music I feel passionate about, and this album left me with little passion to speak of.

For fans of: Reheated leftovers…

Overall Rating: 5/10

“Girl With No Face” by Allie X- Review

Allie X delves into the ‘80s new wave sound with her new album “Girl With No Face.”  She manages to put enough of her own twist on the genre that she stands out among the modern wave of synth-pop and dance-pop sweeping the mainstream. Artists such as Ava Max, Kim Petras, or Zara Larsson often make radio-friendly synth-pop with good production, but little in terms of personality; Allie X has enough vocal talent, quirky lyrics, and genuinely interesting synth lines to make her cut above the rest.

This personality is most clearly seen in songs such as “Off With Her Tits,” “Galina,” and “Weird World,” all standout tracks with pumping beats, odd lyrics, and vocals with great emotion and sass behind them. The production across the album is consistently good, although some of the synths or drum pads can sound a bit generic at times. The album is well-paced and does not overstay its welcome at a slim 44 minutes.

The biggest critique I have of this album is that it feels a bit one-note. A lot of songs progress in the exact same way, and pretty much every song is a two-step beat with synths that start to lack variety. Not every track has the same fiery personality injected into it, and a lot of the songs  sound pretty similar back-to-back. As much as Allie X stands apart from others in the genre, her album still lacks consistency and gets a bit repetitive in one sitting.

Overall, a very solid synth-pop record that you should listen to if you are a bit tired of the club hits on the radio right now.

For fans of: Dua Lipa, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX

Overall Rating: 7/10

 



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