ALBUM REVIEW: From All the Lights in the Sky to Modern Synthesis, Area 11 continue to grow
MODERN SYNTHESIS by Area 11, Out now
With just their second album, Area 11 has already hit the charts, reaching the peak position of 27.
After releasing this just over a year ago and their first in 2013, they have already toured numerous times and never fail to please their ever-growing fan base by fearlessly experimenting and, as a result, have created their unique sound titled “Gaijin Rock” by the lead singer/songwriter Tom Clarke, commonly known to the fans as Sparkles.
Their earlier music draws inspiration from Japanese cartoons known as Animé which is reflected in their lyrics being extremely emotional and fuelling their unique, upbeat sound.
This sound is created with the perfect blend of synthesisers, heavy rock riffs and vibrant vocals which were extremely prominent in their first album, All the Lights in The Sky, which, in my opinion, is appropriately named as it creates beautiful imagery in the listener’s mind and is certainly an album that will pull the listener on an emotional rollercoaster.
This is especially so in tracks such as “The Strays” and “Dream and Reality.”
Between this album and their second, the band released a number of both EPs and singles which include their “Underline” EP, which created a brand-new, never-before heard sound from the band, taking a heavier and overall darker tone and moving away from the themes present in the previous album and creating imagery of despair and a darker atmosphere, especially prominent in “In the Blind” with its complex guitar riffs and advanced drumming patterns.
The futuristic atmosphere created in this EP is the result of the band taking advantage of their potential and experimenting with it to provide their fans with ground-breaking, innovative arrangements that both intrigue their old fans and attract new ones too, certainly a unique album that expresses its story to the listener.
Their latest album “Modern Synthesis” takes their instrumentation, structure and lyrics to a new level entirely, producing advanced synthesised sounds and intricate compositions to unfold emotional stories with each song.
The opening track “Override C” is the third in a trilogy of songs that, when played consecutively, create an extended piece of music which creates and develops an atmosphere throughout.
This unique piece identifies Clark’s expert fusion of synthesisers and physical instruments, developing an extremely advanced combination that flows throughout the piece, evolving into an inspiring opening to the album and an excellent conclusion to the trilogy.
Another track expanding Area 11’s repertoire is “Processor” which sees the band endeavour to create an emotional atmosphere, illustrating a combination of light piano and vocals which then modulate to a heavy guitar section, expressing emotion and anger with harsh vocals before toning down to a slower, more inspiring piece building up to the end.
With narrative using phrases like “I devour it all, every colour and every shape, Scream my message etching wisdom on the landscape” much of the interpretation is left to the audience.
The lyrics illustrate poetically beautiful imagery and express multiple emotions combined uniquely in this masterpiece.
Overall, this album is certain to take the listener to both highs and lows, sparking a large range of emotions and creating colourful imagery throughout.
This album is, indisputably, a masterpiece and, in their next show in December, they are certainly going to continue to break boundaries.
Their next chart topper is almost certainly just round the corner.
Student writer Patrick Walsh