Memory on Trial

Artist: 
Band Aparte
Non-Airable Tracks: 
NONE
Label: 
Manifesto Records
Album Art: 

Memory on Trial is Band Apartes debut album, released on Manifesto Records. They are an LA goth punk duo, releasing hard hitting but mellow tracks with punk, gothic, and synthwave influences throughout them. In the intro track there was an almost German vibe to the song. I started to zone out and had to refocus to check if it was in fact in English. With the dark tones and deep singing reminiscent of darkwave. This is quickly ditched though and the second song rings in with a more explosive vibe, with a very gothic sound. Ringing in with a jazzy rhythmic vibe, some noise sprinkled over top of it. The songs hit hard with drill-like drum beats and repeated patterns that create a sort of tense state.

Throughout the album there's the recognizable monotone vocals layered over repeated drums, synths, and the guitar/base line up. It's reminiscent of darkwave or a more gothic undertone, but doesn’t fall flat into it it although the gothic theme is held on to and is a strong quality for the album. There's noisy guitar riffs that ring out, almost as if they are in a separate room but bleed into the recording, adding a further layer to the songs. Surf rock-like riffs fall underneath the sounds, through that noisy guitar alleyway, which alone sound kind of cliche but fit underneath the other layers.

From the lead vocalist comes a monotone voice that stands over the rest of the song  and occasionally bellows out with an added step. Following its lead are synths that add a similar feel to the vocals. Then there's the aforementioned drumming which is nothing spectacular but couples with the sound well, and the rest is a mix of noisy and mellow all bunched together. Switching from upbeat to upbeat but with the mask of mellow and monotone is common on this album. It’s reminiscent of the sound its striving for, yet doesn’t push itself past that or stand out. Instead falls as another album with similar sounds. Although I can’t be too critical as it was enjoyable and each song was caressed with an added layer I didn’t expect, and felt foreign to the song yet still fitting in gracefully.

More focus could be placed on the noisier aspects with the upbeat rhythms that allowed the vocals to stand out in a more defined fashion. These moments were the most memorable and those punk vibes coupled with their sound layering. The other songs that were more repetitive and featured less tones fell flat, coming off as less important or not standing up in value to the other songs. Although they did have shining moments when a synth would chime in during a small interlude, or the vocals would punch harder. Furthermore the drums at time felt overdone and more variation could have be used, yet this wasn’t a major nuisance and often the drums fell out of the forefront and became the base of the building less focused on. If punk vibes and synth parts were more focused on, the album would have been more enjoyable and pushed out the more memorable moments of the album. Minus the moments when monotone vocals ring out in a gothic style letting the lyrics dissolve in a mellow synth and guitar.

Overall a good album, nothing spectacular, but achieves the theme and sound it seems to be going for. Each song is layered but everything seems to stand out as a lead, nothing intrudes on another piece. Sounds find their place and stay nestled into place letting themselves be heard but coupling with the rest. Except the vocals which take a pedestal, but this is all expected, although there place is fitting in finalizing the song. Switching from a sort of darkwave sound to punk-like hitting sounds and lastly mellow songs with soothing sounds underlined by crunchy drums. Reminiscent of Nick Cave and New Order the band creates a gothic album with fusions of noisier sounds and synthwave elements to create an enjoyable, mellow but hard hitting, pessimistic vibes, and layered sound throughout the album. They stay true to multiple sounds but don’t let the album become convoluted or confusing, with some things that could be improved on such as consistency and choices pertaining to what sounds to hold to.

Sounds Like: 
Ghost Noise
Sounds Like: 
New Order
Recommended Tracks: 
We Are Home (End): Ambient track with soothing vocals and a dash of noise.
Creatures of Culture: Fast paced and fun.
Name: 
Nathan Gosnell
Date Reviewed: 
09/06/2016