Voyager One: Afterhours in the Afterlife

[30 April 2008]

By Timothy Gabriele

Voyager One have apparently traversed the event horizon and nosedived headfirst into the afterlife, where it’s after hours (oddly compounded in this album’s title) at the celestial bar and the jukebox is pumping out nothing but nineties Britpop for the rolling doling saints. On the album’s best track, vocalist Peter Marchese claims that “It’s hard for us to see / In these broken down machines / That the future’s obsolete,” which, if it be the case, kind of precludes any opportunity to criticize Voyager One’s lack of originality. “So let’s start again,” he proposes. I guess there’s no better place to start than the hard-raving, head-banging, acid-guzzling ravetopia of the 1990’s. It’s hard not to occasionally get dewy-eyed nostalgic for that era’s invigorated spirit in a time when our best music dwells heavily on the dread of the conceivable accuracy of Rotten and Marchese’s “No future” predictions.

Voyager One employ breakneck breakbeats—Madchester style—to “Ocean Grey”, “The Future Is Obsolete”, and “Darling O.K.”, like they just picked up Honey’s Dead or Turns into Stone and proclaimed it the sound of dead tomorrow. Though the familiar drums are occasionally irksome, they’re usually tolerable at the behest of some very fevered shoegaze propulsions that lift to experience like some of Spiritualized’s freakouts. The album’s worst and most dated offense though is Marchese’s breathy vocals, which desperately try to exude a hushed cool like the same era’s grunge—and industrial bands Stabbing Westward or Machines of Loving Grace. Beyond the cigarette-worn dime store boho vocals and their correspondingly superfluous lyrics lies a stunning pair of collaborations with the German neo-dreampop band Guitar. Both were already released on Guitar’s 2007 release Dealin With Signal and Noise, but they actually work better here in the context of a lingering flashback than on that odds and sods assortment.

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