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Alpha | Impossible Thrill | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop


The Impossible Thrill (Astralwerks)
by Tim Den

The press might have you believe Alpha is some sort of Massive Attack clone... They're signed to the trip-hop giants' imprint and hail from the same city (Bristol, UK), but that's where the similarities end. Where Massive Attack excel in dark, disturbing thumps of electronic boom, Alpha dwell in the nostalgic world of '60s lounge-pop made hip by Burt Bacharach. Equal parts Scott Walker and Brian Eno, Alpha rummages through the thrift store of classic pop - vintage drum sounds and all - then throws everything they find into the huge blender called the 21st century recording studio. What's poured into the listener's glass is a dreamscape of oppressed hook-lines (the album, as pop feeling as it is, never uses traditional vocal or melodic hooks. Instead, stream-of-consciousness crooning delivers the effect without resorting to regular verse/chorus structure) in the midst of gigantic atmospheres. Background music-ish enough to be a film score (insert comparisons to Air here), The Impossible Thrill is more a journey to a futuristic '70s Las Vegas cocktail bar than Massive Attack's post-apocalyptic, beat-heavy universe. The best of both music-making knowledge of the classic era and the technology of the millennial studio, The Impossible Thrill is a trip you can't afford to miss.
(104 West 29th St. New York, NY 10001)


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