TO SWATHE YOURSELF in an industrial-synth-rock uniform is a brave act when you share the same planet as Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. Canada collective Post Death Soundtrack describe their current release The Unlearning Curve as more trip-hop/psychedelic rock, but the influence (even if unintended) of the mighty NIN is never far from the surface. Maybe it’s someone else’s turn – It’s my understanding that the most recent NIN New Zealand concerts were an exercise in patience and tolerance anyway. Their spotty discography certainly has great tracts of infertile land to match such live disappointment, so maybe PDS are a good alternative.
The psychedelic rock influences the band espouse are tastefully evident. Opening track ‘That Which Is’ matches a mood from Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful Of Secrets with the angst-driven drivel of Jim Morrison in protest mode but without the drivel. ‘Beauty Eyes I Adore’ with its 7/8 time signature is forced into a trip-hop rhythm which causes a constant stumble and renders any smooth edges jagged. But mostly the drum rhythms of The Unlearning Curve as a whole are understated if anything. The synthesizer parts are finely wrought and weave their way through the songs with a pronounced subtlety that wisely stops short of competing with NIN’s wiry face-piercing stabs, thus allowing me to shut up about them once and for all.
The highlight track, ‘Little Alice’, leaps out of nowhere to stand head and shoulders above all the others. It’s the closest the album gets to metal and confronts the listener with a Judas Priest meets Rage Against The Machine melange of interrogation. With an impressive panned swirl, dissonant guitar lines enter to colour proceedings until 3m:02s when an unfortunate tuning issue becomes evident. Perhaps intentional, nevertheless it sends the song out with more of a whimper than was necessary, but I still like it. Tuning schmooning.
When it comes to sonics, though quite evenly balanced, there is a feeling of lifelessness at times, perhaps because the drums are not as in your face as might be more common for productions like this. But it’s not overly offensive and the whole is very listenable. I’ll take what I can get because I will never get to hear Post Death Soundtrack as intended. PETER KEARNS
Music = 3/5