Is the ‘Kerrang!’-friendly quartet worth all the hype?
In order to appreciate this album for its creative merits, you must clear your mind of any preconceptions; of any memories of rabid fans or luminous merchandise. My Passion are a band who are inevitably going to be judged by their appearances, and it’s understandable as to why. The Hertfordshire collective are slick, stylish and very, very easy on the eye- but are they all eyeliner and no substance? Their debut album ‘Corporate Flesh Party’ tells us all we need to know.
Corporate Flesh Party opens with the rich and surprisingly heavy offering that is Crazy and Me; a particularly catchy number with a killer bassline. Between each verse is a suitably beefy musical interlude that can’t help but get you moving, or at least tapping your foot. This catchy little ditty also showcases some particularly impressive changes in dynamics, tempo and a subtle and not unpleasant appearance of some mild synths. All in all, a good, upbeat, fun opener.
Although ‘Crazy and Me’ is an inevitable crowd-pleaser, it is within such self assured tracks as Play Dirty that My Passion come into their own. With a particularly impressive mix of synths and raw guitars, they create a memorable, danceable tune with a metal edge. ‘Play Dirty’ boasts a distinctly original sound that I can’t help but find compelling. Although their frequent use of synthesisers can’t help but draw comparisons with such outfits as Enter Shikari, the prominent use of synthesisers is where such similarities end. ‘Play Dirty’ is polished and honed in each element- the dual vocals between their sickeningly multi-talented drummer Jonathan Gaskin and vocalist Lawrence Rene are flawless and incredibly effective in creating a suitably high-energy vibe. Day of the Bees is the second promotional video from the record and is indeed one of the more radio-friendly offerings from the album. Once again, My Passion deliver a suitably fun, synth driven attack that keeps the listener on their toes with an impressive off-beat, bouncy rhythm. ‘Day of the Bees’ proves to be more electro and poppy than the other tracks on ‘Corporate Flesh Party’ but any element of superficiality on this track is swiftly counteracted by some rather fetching screams and powerful breaks in dynamics and the band really deliver on the choruses with a particularly effective use of both vocalists. Never Everland is a surprisingly heavy song, with an introduction of light synths quickly evolving into a far heavier, faster mix. Never Everland also sees the appearance of more variety on the part of Rene, as he introduces more raw, harder features to his vocals. Although ‘Never Everland’ is a very enjoyable track, by now, any listener will have noticed that although My Passion can indeed do music, their lyrics leave a little to be desired. If what you look for in a band is profound, poetic lyrics, I’m afraid you won’t find it with this band, but on the other hand, if you want catchy, fun songs that are great to dance to and will most probably remain in your head for most of the day, then ‘Corporate Flesh Party’ is your sort of album. Personally, as soon as I heard the words ‘clap-trap rubbish’ set to music, I was sold.
Winter for Lovers is a real prize find. While the upbeat, danceable tunes cater to an excitable, live audience, it is with songs such as this that My Passion really showcase their versatility as musicians. ‘Winter for Lovers’ shows a different side to them; a more sensitive, considered, mature side, which really should rear its head more often. Although songs of a slower pace are few and far between on this album, when they do appear, they certainly impress. Once again, the song is weighted towards the chorus, but it doesn’t undergo so many sudden or severe changes in order to get there. Winter for Lovers also possesses some of the most appealing and least odd lyrics of the album, so much so that it even enters understandable territories. Hot in the Dolls House provides a sudden, slightly jarring change of pace and re-entry into the world of ‘live’ My Passion. ‘Hot in the Dolls House’ was in fact, their first demo and, despite this, has aged particularly well, proving itself to be one of the stronger tracks on the album. This track is a particularly self-assured effort with a strong and masterful mix of strong synths and heavy guitars which builds to a fabulous, authentic, raw chant of “No Picture”. Even the outro of this song is bound to get anyone’s heart beat racing that little bit faster. As with ‘Winter for Lovers’, After Calais is another departure from their usual heavy sound. ‘After Calais’ is far more down tempo and unexpectedly delicate, especially considering the nature of the song it follows. The heavier elements of My Passion are put aside for the duration of the track, and a more experimental and softer avenue has been taken. Although putting this ‘wild card’ of a song on the album could be seen as a bit of a risk, it’s a risk that has certainly paid off. After Calais also features some wonderfully clear vocals from both drummer and vocalist which one can only hope will be featured in a greater capacity in the outfit’s future work. Thanks for Nothing is another polished and surprisingly heavy demo from 2009 and most certainly bears the best and most effective use of synths on the album. From a deceptive introduction, heavy verses soon build into clear synth breaks and pounding anthemic chants. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe the technical mastery in this brief song. The gloriously titled The Fabulous Blood Disco is, initially at least, reminiscent of the famous ‘blood-shower’ club scene in Blade. Despite the wonderfully over-the-top title, this is one of the rather more straightforward and lighter mixes on the album- providing a far milder electro/rock blend. In relation to the rest of the album, I’d say this was one of the weaker tracks, yet that is not to say that it’s bad, it just lacks many of the original qualities found in the rest of the album. Saying that, I’m sure that it’d be far more memorable in a live set. Plastic Flesh Garden is yet another surprising offering, beginning rather down-tempo, as with ‘Winter for Lovers’ and ‘Calais’, and quickly building into something far more upbeat and visceral (in parts, at least). Once again, conflicting elements blend seamlessly together for the choruses and through a swift increase in tempo, and the addition of some more aggressive vocal stylings, My Passion demonstrate the distinct sound that has brought them such a dedicated following. The final track of ‘Corporate Flesh Party’ is the oddly titled Vultures are People Too. It’s a painful cliché to say so, but they really have saved the best ‘till last. This track is my personal favourite of the entire album; I’d even go as far as to call it a musical triumph. ‘Vultures are People Too’ is a real creative explosion, with each member proving their worth through a perfectly crafted outpouring of their individual talents. The song is weirdly beautiful, with odd lyrics that somehow fit with the fluid musical stylings perfectly. It features an odd mix of styles and techniques that really shouldn’t meld together that well, but everything seems to come full circle into a perfect mix. For a four minute song, it is surprisingly diverse and certainly gives the impression of being an epic piece of work. The strange, almost a cappella ‘outro’ proves to be a perfect and suitably haunting end to the album.
Overall, My Passion are hard to pin down and label, as much as magazines would like to- heck, even the band themselves struggle to give a name to their sound. Considering the style of their songs changes so often, one can’t help but think that this is one of the features that’ll be first to go if big record labels get their hands on the band. At times, their sound is so diverse, it seems rather jarring, and subsequently, I should be calling out for consistency. But personally, I believe My Passion to be one of those special musical jewels that only comes around once in a blue moon, and they should be cherished for it. You aren’t supposed to understand, analyse or unpick My Passion (rendering this review slightly useless), just open your ears, close your eyes to their image and appreciate them for what they are- four incredibly talented musicians. Or, alternatively, look upon them as three wonderful musicians, and one drummer who has surely ripped a hole in time and space under the crippling weight of his talents. All in all, ‘Corporate Flesh Party’ is, to smack a label on it, a ‘must-have album’, whether you’re a goth, metalhead, punk, scene-kid, whatever. Chances are, those who swing towards the heavier spectrum of things will have to mark the album as a guilty pleasure – that won’t matter. My Passion are a force to be reckoned with and, if they keep their sound and don’t bend to the pressures of the industry, their 2010 offering should be mind-blowing.
4.5 high fives out of 5!