As I sit down to write my review of Retrogramme’s latest opus For Our Dearly Departed I’m reminded of what something Rob Early and I had talked about during one of our musical conversations on Facebook. He mentioned that another reviewer had said that the album is all over the map, not sticking to one style or another but simply following itself where ever it wants to go, and to an extent I totally agree with this. This isn’t a bad thing though, nay I say, this is a good thing, because what we have here is something I often complain about in my reviews a lack of trying something different and Retrogramme doesn’t shy away from trying different things.
Really their ability to chase the dragon on each song and let it be its own thing is what makes this release strong for me. It doesn’t fall into the category of all sounding the same and actually makes it for a pretty fun listen.
Starting off with the opening track Save Without a Grudge you are thrown right into the album with and extremely catchy Drum n Bass inspired track. Honestly I can listen to this track on infinite repeat. The drums are perfect and the feeling is absolutely undeniable. It’s catchy as hell, as is most of the record actually. I think the strength really lies on Retrogramme’s use and understanding of melody. It shines through on this release more than anything else. At times nearly balancing on the synth pop line and then veering back into darker territory.
Patricia the second track with inspired female vocals grabs me as well. For a different reason actually, I’m reminded of some of the better stuff from Love Spirals Downwards album Flux. Not so much with all the Spanish guitars but the vocal styling and the beats to me are very reminiscent of that release. In fact Retrogramme aren’t afraid to let their Trip Hop side come out as well.
While in a lot of ways this album may really seem schizophrenic to most, it makes perfect sense for me. No one listens to the same thing over and over again and For Our Dearly Departed a great slab of tune-age for someone who doesn’t want to get stuck with an album that sounds like it’s just on repeat of the first track.
But you may be asking yourself, you’ve said so much about melody, so much about trip hop and experimentation are there any straight up industrial songs? Well yes, by the time you get to the track Cancer Remised (Force Drift vs Retrogramme’s you are treated to a sonic wall of industrial, again with large amounts of melody but enough aggression to keep you moving on the four on the floor beat.
So what doesn’t work for me on this record? Not a lot doesn’t work here, honestly the only real compliant I have is I would have liked to have more original tracks and not quite as many reconstructed and or remixed tracks. I would have liked to have a few more songs that showed off the band as a whole and not so much what other people can do with the songs, despite the fact that they very Synth Pop remix of Temporary Love is probably the standout song for girls to throw their panties at the stage (I’m sorry was that sexist?).
When the final verdict is handed down I think this is a really solid record. Not quite perfect, but definitely worth your time and definitely worth spinning a few times to digest if from beginning to end!