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The Birthday Massacre

Walking With Strangers

(Metropolis; US: 11 Sep 2007; UK: 22 Oct 2007)

Before everyone got their knickers in a knot about a group like Shiny Toy Guns, there were synth-goth-rock bands like The Birthday Massacre hanging around the outer edges of music circles. The Toronto-area group makes the best of this album with a large, catchy and solid batch of tracks. Although “Kill the Lights” is a great song, the sweetness of the song pales compared to the ensuing pieces. A song like “Goodnight” is another keeper as the band’s lead vocalist Chibi works wonders over arrangements that mix the best of The Cure, Depeche Mode and NIN. However the group hits a David Ortiz-like home run with the synth-saturated “Falling Down” which makes one want to buy the DVD for Pretty in Pink and watch it repeatedly. The first tune to really show a harder, rougher side is the industrial-influenced “Red Stars” but even then The Birthday Massacre takes a light, airy route during the verses. Other songs such as “Looking Glass” don’t one-up earlier efforts but certainly aren’t embarrassing or filler. Perhaps the highlight of the latter tracks is the rich and tender “To Die For” that sounds like the perfect blend of Depeche Mode and The Cure. The same can be said of the atmospheric and grandiose closer “Movie”.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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