The Birthday Massacre - 'Hide And Seek'

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The Birthday Massacre - 'Hide And Seek'

Not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a brew I found very fulfilling.

In the words of Monty Python...”and now for something completely different”. I have to say despite Toronto based synthrockers The Birthday Massacre having been around since 1999, I haven’t heard of them previously. They owe much of their success to the web having made the best use of this medium from the start to promote their work, often being ahead of the curve. In late 2012 TBM finished and released their fifth album ‘Hide & Seek’.

The first thing I noticed was the short run time with ten tracks lasting just 35 minutes. Despite this limited length ‘Hide & Seek’ has several notable songs with ‘Leaving Tonight’ being one of the best. This seriously catchy song starts with some fat bass and synth, building and picking up in pace as it bounds along. At the chorus the guitar erupts with a fantastic deep riff that adds a different dimension. This is a track I’ve had on repeat several times. ‘Need’ is thick and textured with an 80’s retro feel to it, there’s more pounding bass, synth and some chugging guitar leading to a funky solo. As well as these synth based tracks there’s some aggressive alternative rocking with ‘Down’. The guitar’s turned up full and takes centre stage, although the verse does slip in some techno styled bass. This is the heaviest song and it does stand apart somewhat. It’s polar opposite ‘Calling’ is almost club worthy with a Jan Hammer styled melody through its pop like verse. It reminded me a little of early Madonna but don’t be put off as there is a massively infectious chorus with some groovy guitar. This one also went on repeat and made me smile and hopefully it will have the same effect on others.

Personally I think this is excellent and a thoroughly enjoyable listen but I can safely say that won’t be everyone’s opinion! This will appeal to those with varied/unusual tastes and those into retro 80’s sounds. Readers with a dislike of synthesiser based music or enjoy rock in its classic/heavy forms would be wise to take a wide berth. As far as comparisons go, think Tangerine Dream, Jan Hammer and Gary Newman mixed with a little ‘Unforgiving’ Within Temptation or lighter Evanescence. There’s 80’s pop and synth, new wave, alternative and female front rock all blended together. Not surprisingly singer Chili also has a varied but commercial style that fits the music snugly with the rest of TBM sounding accomplished and versatile. The production values are top class and highly polished. The biggest negative is the short length of the songs, some of the catchier ones could be longer and still remain good. With its 80’s synth based melodies and crunchy guitar this suited my eclectic tastes but I know that won’t be the case for everyone. My suggestion would be to check out TBM online; I think some people will be surprised.

This will not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a brew I found very fulfilling.

Dave Scott

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