Drop The Fear - Drop The Fear

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Self-released, dist. through Helmet Room Recordings
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:30:00

Drop The Fear is the self-titled debut from ... well, Drop The Fear, a Colorado based trio comprised of Sarah Marcogliese on keys, vocals, guitar and drums; Gabriel Ratliff on drums, keys and vocals, and Ryan Polickyon keys, vocals, guitar, bass and drums... basically, everyone does a bit of everything.

What results is something that might be termed progressive techno gothic art rock. So, where to start in breaking that down? If you think of a futuristic sci-fi film - rather than fantasy sci-fi... well, THX-1138 vs Star Wars, let say ... this would be the soundtrack. And I think THX-1138 is a good visual to have - those stark white walls, detachment. The techno aspects - the electronic drums, keyboard textures - all give this a... well, "Edge Of The Universe" certainly has this melancholic look at a future gone in the wrong direction. Of course, the camera pans up from the sunset to point out at the starry sky. Another visual point of reference might be both the weightless sequences of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sarah sounds to me a lot like Christina Amphlett (Divinyls)... it's a coy, kittenish way of singing, sweet but hinting at something darker inside... At times we can also say Sinead O'Connor and Chrissie Hynde at her most "feminine" sounding - you know, when she's a balladeer rather than rough rocker. I thought also of Bj?rk. So, with that in your head, put that over spacey textures mostly created by keyboards, breathy, ethereal beds of keyboards. Sometimes these are accompanied only by electronic drums, at other times guitar and bass. Everything is presented at pretty even, slow pace ... the darkest piece is "Long Way From Home." Here Sarah (I'm assuming) drops down into baritone range to sing, though still sounding feminine (assuming that...). Keyboards are merely an accent here, atmospheric. Drums are the dominant instrument in a rhythm that each time I listen to this, I can't help but tap it out. It insinuates itself into your head and becomes "catchy" in a very subversive way... seductive, in way.

On the surface, each piece can be described pretty much the same, and yet each sounds different - a change in pace, a change in balance, change in rhythm, but all are essentially beds of keyboards with electronic drum rhythms and vocals. Well, "Hot Upstairs" is an instrumental (as is the later piece, "Gordon"). Guitars and bass do creep in here and there, but on the whole, keyboards and drums hold sway. I suppose, though it isn't audibly apparent to me, the guitars could be making some of the keyboard sounds...

The album opens with the techno-middle-eastern flavored "Nevermind," Things are much, much darker on the track that follows, "Murnau." "Natural Law" hints at U2 in the jangly guitar phrases, though other than Sarah's vocalizations, the only "vocals" are a spoken word monologue. "As Lonely As They Come" takes the slow motion atmosphere of "Long Way From Home" (deep vocals and all) and slows it down even more. Not seductive here, but very near depressing. I'd say "As Lonely As They Come" is when the space traveler finds he's the one left on the planet... and has no way off. The lyrics aren't included, nor found at their website, so... hard to say what it's really about. Listen carefully, I think there's a subtle hint of the theme music to the classic Star Trek... or I'm just hearing things in the gentle guitar tones (not really notes, effects) that end the track.

Drop The Fear is a little more involving that just background music, but a little too mellow to force you into activity. Headphones? Yes, necessary to pick up the nuances and since it's designed for the immersion chamber... The tracks with most "movement" are, ironically, "Standing Still," a piece that also includes a quietly throbbing bass, and the tribal "Gordon." For all the electronic instrumentation, it comes across as warmer than... well, anything you might expect created with a synthetic feel. That's true for the album as a whole, as well This particular piece is dedicated to Scot Gordon, the liner notes say, along with the earlier piece "Goodbye" - he was a producer and friend who passed away. The most "rock" like tune is "Sloan" which begins with chiming guitar. Still spacey, of course, but the driving drum rhythm gives this a burst of energy that's not present in earlier pieces.

So, what do I think of it? It's one of those albums where I'm on the fence. Not between like or dislike, but between like and love. I do like it, and for some tracks, like a lot, but I can't say I love it. Sarah's voice does sometimes seem to drone on some of the more... subtle pieces - part of the effect, of course, but not something that necessarily works for me. On the whole though, I like it.

The limited edition version of the CD also comes with a DVD, which is described thusly at CDBaby (from where the CD and CD/DVD can be purchased as of this writing): "[...] a visual interpretation of the journey they delved into over the past year. Pulsating with raw visual elements of life which happen everyday, the footage seems to breathe along with the twelve song experience."

Nevermind (4:49) / Murnau (3:54) / When Memory Fails (4:04) / Natural Law (4:24) / Long Way From Home (5:17) / Edge Of The Universe (4:01) / Hot Upstairs (4:33) / As Lonely As They Come (5:12) / Goodbye (4:42) / Standing Still (3:23) / Gordon (3:25) / Sloan (4:46)

Sarah Marcogliese - on keys, vocals, guitar and drums
Gabriel Ratliff - drums, keys and vocals
Ryan Polickyon - keys, vocals, guitar, bass and drums

Drop The Fear (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 10th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.dropthefear.com
Hits: 1041
Language: english


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