Dark whimsy in an electronic-rock world
Toronto-based group, The Birthday Massacre, releases 9 wondrous tracks on their new album Fascination. The band’s twelfth album establishes an ’80s synth-pop vibe that accompanies their signature spirited rock sound. Vocals from lead singer, Sara ‘Chibi’ Taylor, guide listeners with softness through ravaging guitar riffs and charged keyboard instrumentals. Fascination melts down aggression with vulnerable storytelling. The Birthday Massacre keeps loyal fans listening by staying true to their gothic style while also elevating the atmosphere with whimsy and dreaminess, welcoming an array of eclectic listeners.
The most ’80s mimicking track, “Dreams of You” plants an energetic start as the second track after the first song “Fascination.” In it, a melancholic tale of abandoned love in an illusionary space is told, asking “did I ever see you? Feel you?” Listeners can carry on without paying much mind to the lyrical gloom and still appreciate the juxtaposition of twinkling synths and glam guitar.
“Cold Lights” takes a turn, beginning with a spurt of suspense, then leading into a boom of futuristic instrumentals. It describes a doomed story of cut-throat honesty, “so many lies to live up to,” not easy to admit but still comfortable to listen to. Swaying vocals from Chibi lead into the next track “Stars and Satellites”. The astronomical theme is played on and paired with amplified guitar growling, giving this song the title of most heavy rock-sounding.
“One More Time” builds nostalgia with cohesive, quick-paced guitar and the desire to “feel this one more time.” A bright and sweeter mood is built complementing the contrastive tracks prior. Its darker twin, “Like Fear, Like Love” incorporates a solid rock sound, vibrant enough to bring listeners to dance along. Fear or love, both offer themselves to share more in common than in contrast as told by “maybe nothing goes right like colors changing”. This sixth track unleashes all energy, with vocalist Chibi also amping up her voice to match the boldness.
Finally, “The End of All Stories” sends off the album with a slower finale. Softer but still intense, this track fuses a grand rhythmic bass with staple synths, reflecting the expressive journey shared throughout all other songs. It’s moody, delicate and spacious. Conclusions are learned lie in lyrics like “don’t waste your words upon wishes and soon-to-be-forgotten days.”
The Birthday Massacre lures in a variety of stylistic elements to this album, where confinement can’t be applied. The playful ’80s inspiration makes these tracks enjoyable for unfamiliar underground rock listeners and brings along the band’s niche fanbase with them. Fascination is a collection of imaginative, extravagant tunes familiar enough for long-time Birthday Massacre fans and listeners seeking fantasy through song.
“Precious Hearts” is also on the album, and is an incredible song… One of my all-time favorites. Definitely check it out.