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Friday, January 20, 2017

Volumatix - In The City

Name: Volumatic
Album: In The City
Year: 1984
Style: Power Pop, New Wave
Similar Bands: 1994, Sue Saad, Kim Wilde, Patty Smyth, Toyah, Genesis.
One Word Review: X-Files Jazz
Based Out Of: Los Angeles, CA
Label: Tropical Records, Enigma
 In The City - Cover, Lyrics, Record
In The City - Back, Lyrics, Record
In The City (1984)
  1. Perimeter 2:59
  2. Mixed Emotions 3:42
  3. In The City 3:09 (actually Livewire)
  4. Cost Of Living 3:24
  5. Livewire 2:36 (actually In The City)
  6. Drive Song 4:09/
  7. Young Girls In LA 2:43
  8. Wake Up and Dance 3:38
  9. Everything and Nothing 3:23
  10. Gravity 3:46
  11. Trashman 4:58
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Mark Avnet - Producer, Engineer, Producer
Joe Holmsely - Producer, Guitar, Synth, Sax, Flute, Vox
Lee Martin - Producer, Guitar, Keys
Jeff Stocki - Producer, Bass, Percussion, Guitar
Toby Davis - Drums Percussion
Kerry Brown - Vox
Ray Cook - Management
Ted Sweeny - Bass
Robby Krieger - Guitar
Dorian Gray - Cello
Dusty Wakeman - Additional Engineering
Stuart Schonwetter - Additional Engineering
Bobby Ginsberg - Additional Recording
Bill Wade - Additional Recording
Lisa Toby - Front Cover
Ed Colver - Back Cover & Liner
Steve Marcussen - Mastering
Heather Harris - Art Direction

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band, but I like the look of this album. The name, art design, and band photo stimulate a dark, futuristic, dystopian world, maybe a bit like blade runner. The music, I expect to be electronic, cold, and atmospheric, like the type of music that inspired the present day film Drive.

Album Review: Not much is out there about this band…found one of their older singles on Youtube, the album is mentioned as a footnote in a few band member’s discography, and one member has a brief memory recap about a song he wrote.

“Perimeter” begins with a drum roll and a synth track. But once the deep-ish female lead vocals start, it is obvious that the song is a pop-rock song, with synth as an accent, not as a main course. The song is bold and confident, following a simple catchy melody.
“Mixed Emotions” has a fast, driving drum beat. The synth is a little anxious, and the bass is dark, creating a somewhat jazzy, chaotic song, that actually reminds me a lot of Toyah. The song shifts gears for the chorus, and converges together for an accessible, bright, and hopeful melody. The vocals sound like they are classically trained, and in some sections, they are layered to create harmonies with themselves.
“In The City” driving and jittery is the way the song begins, but despite the track line up, I believe this is actually “LiveWire” since the chorus contains that lyric. The synth adds a depth to the bouncing bass and guitar melody, reining it in a little. The tone shifts to dark and anxious for the chorus.
“Cost Of Living” starts off with a jazzy prog rock element, reminding me of Brand X. It is all instrumental, and driving as it is urgent, like video game music.
“Livewire” is actually “In the City.” The song begins with a car driving up. The synth melody is very sinister and could put the listener on edge. It has a bit of a count Dracula feel to it, spooky and mesmerizing.
“Drive Song” continues with the dark synth elements and drums. The vocals range from deep crooning to growling. The song sounds bigger than a small club venue: I could only imagine it on a cold dance floor or cavernous venue. It has a bit of an X-Files vibe to it. There is a short spoken word section over jazzy instruments that give definition to Drive Song.

“Young Girls In LA” is a straight forward rock song, with synth elements in the beginning. The guitars soar and hook. The lyrics have a marching cadence, barely sung, just hanging on to the note changes in a sing-song fashion. The song builds well heading into the chorus: a cautionary reminder about the rough streets of LA. It sounds like the entire band picks up a line of lyrics as the song rises to the end.
“Wake Up and Dance” begins with a dancey drum beat and bouncy bass line, similar to Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” There is a mechanical cadence to the chorus of the song, where the verse is much looser and groovy. Shining synth is added with a minute to go in the song. Pretty sure the song has male vocals.
“Everything and Nothing” begins with a jangly guitar beat, and is backed with arena rock guitars. The female vocals feel like they are trying to teach a lesson. The guitars soar in the instrumental sections, and are brought back down in time for the verses.
“Gravity” begins with twinkling space ship computer calibrations, and the song slowly grows. Then the dark bass line begins, driving the song to a bouncy dark wave song melody, alongside a dentist drill pitch synth. The song is quite theatrical, as it changes vocal tone often. The instrumental lines the drums, bass and synth up a little more, and it becomes quite dancey.
“Trashman” goes all in with the jazziness, with a synth sax, and a tempo setting piano: slumping broken-down  stumble. It too has a slight variant in styles, to make it theatrical as well.

Stand Out Track: Young Girls In LA

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