Birthday Massacre / I:Scintilla

iscintilla dying and fallingThe Birthday Massacre album Pins and Needles

Two young and rockin’ electro-oriented bands have newish albums on the shelves, and both share a further commonality: gradual evolution rather than revolutionary advances in sound or technique.

Canadian outfit The Birthday Massacre (Metropolis) offer a melange of influences melded into a gorgeous blend of heavy rock drums and metal guitar with pop sensibility and the juxtaposition of a cherubic female singer, the uber cute Chibi.

It’s been two years since I caught this entertaining outfit at Brisbane’s venerable Zoo (check out a review here my interview with Chibi here) and the band retain their signature sound on album Number 4, Pins and Needles. It blasts open with In the Dark, but then settles into familiar territory with less gruff metal and a few nods to 80s big hair riffs. You have to listen closely to enjoy the nuances and lyricism. The title track is possibly the catchiest, but there is plenty to reward patience (Shallow Grave, for instance).

Similarly, I:Scintilla are caught in their own wake on album Number 3, Dying & Falling (Alfa Matrix), sounding unmistakably like their fusion of metal and electro-pop with distinctive if slightly underpowered singer Brittany Bindrim up front. There’s a fair swag of studio noodling going on here, whether on uptempo dancefloor numbers or the more intriguing slower tracks: again, you need to listen closely to appreciate the effort, with too few really reaching out to grab the ears on casual listening. The title track is delightfully cruisy, with a raft of vocal and sound effects enhancing the appeal.

I bought the 2CD version, which has 11 remixes and a couple of additional tracks, including the engaging Hollowed; the majority amount to pleasant background noise.

Fans should be pleased with these solid outings but newcomers might find greater instant gratification on the most excellent earlier offerings, TBM’s Violet or I:Scintilla’s Optics.

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