Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

The Birthday Massacre – The Last Goodbye

As we draw nearer to saying goodbye to this year, Carolyne provides another, different “Goodbye”…


Rachel Saywitz: Dark-wave pop that glitters with gothic exuberance, but doesn’t necessarily go anywhere exciting — aside from an unexpected and welcoming break into sparse instrumentals and a shining guitar lick in the last third of the song. 

Samson Savill de Jong: I can see why someone recommended this. The musicianship is good, it builds over the course of the song rather than just staying in place, it’s all put together very well. But it just doesn’t do anything for me, perhaps because it’s ultimately not about anything new or interesting. Most songs, especially pop songs, tackle well worn topics, but they’re able to make them feel fresh, and this doesn’t.

Ian Mathers: This is one of those bands that makes me feel kind of bad because lots of stuff about their sound suggests I should like them more (I love the super stacked/compressed wall of all the instruments together, synths forward, and the goth thing isn’t an issue for me) but more often than not as much as I may dig the sound while it’s on I don’t find myself going back to the song. In the case of the Birthday Massacre, having a singer who more melds into that wall of sound than stands out against it may be a contributing factor; it kind of reduces my take on any given song to “did the chorus hook me fast enough?” And while the answer is sometimes yes, here it’s more of a “not quite”.

Jeffrey Brister: As a first impression, it’s not great. Conventional to the point of generic, sounding like Blaqk Audio without the gravitational pull of Davey Havok’s voice (which I thought was going to be an insult, but TBM formed in 1999 while BA formed in 2001, so that would make them contemporaries). It’s got a lot of texture to it, at least — the arrangement is dense and filled with enough bleeps, synth pads, and twinkly bells to keep things not-boring. But Chibi’s voice is too gauzy and ethereal to really stand out, and it all smears together into a blurry, lightly gothic mess.

Nortey Dowuona: The swarming synths buzz around the heaving bass, which drags its thudding skeleton drums behind it as a soft, gentle voice beckons to the synth bees, who follow, entranced, and settle around the bass, which is too focused on its meal of skeleton drums to hear the gentle voice calling in the synth bees. The bees settle over the bass’s eyes, much to the bass’s annoyance, until the bass speeds off to snatch a guitar butterfly, the skeletal drums rattling, until it nearly goes off a cliff — until the synth bees lift it to see the guitar butterfly disappearing into the trees, with the bass watching with the synth bees below it.

Alfred Soto: The low end sequencer throb I call the Eternal Oombah gets prominent placement, allowing Chibi Taylor a vocal whose poignant anonymity remains the hallmark of a certain kind of dance music, thank goodness. 

Iain Mew: A delicate song delivered via incredible bombast, it’s like hearing someone whispering and it being echoed back the size of mountains. The effect blocks out much else, but it’s some effect. 

Katherine St Asaph: The greatest synthpop group the music press isn’t covering because of their image continues to be reliably great. “The Last Goodbye” finds Chibi in the comparatively muted part of her voice that makes her sound that much more like Helen Marnie or Amelia Brightman — or, this year, Annie on Dark Hearts, the same kind of apocalyptic lullaby heavier on the “lullaby.”

Aaron Bergstrom: A kind of third-wave nostalgia, not harkening back directly to the 1989-90 Disintegration/Pretty Hate Machine/Violator golden age, but instead recalling the 2005 dark synth revival of Ladytron, Goldfrapp, and the first breakthrough successes of The Birthday Massacre themselves. Honestly, it still works.

Reader average: No votes yet!

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Comments are closed.