While Finland’s Déclassé has a sound that is hard to pin down, the group is unmistakably European in their approach to experimental song-crafting and genre-bending. The odd musical mixture of emo, electronica, ‘80s new wave and a touch of grand, old, descending-from-a-spiral-staircase style goth is complimented by the vocals of singer Juha Virta’s whose monotone, hollow, and echoing voice fits the music perfectly. Sometimes reminiscent of ‘80s Cure, “Shadows” combines both morose and joyful, alternating tinkling, glittering beats with strong pulses and manages to incorporate just enough cowbell to make Blue Oyster Cult proud. On this track, as at other points throughout Remain Still, the background overpowers the vocals and the drum machines wear out their welcome. Déclassé is at their best when they fall back on the more organic and beautiful piano that punctuates many of their songs and kicks in with an older, cabaret feel to Déclassé‘s eclectic emo/dance floor vibe. “5 A.M On Stockport Road” cements the feel of the album perfectly with its search for meaning while uncertainly flitting about existence. This time, the bleak, spartan piano plays softly, yet loud enough to break an uncomfortable mental silence that the song’s lyrics imply.
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// Notes from the Road
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