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Assemblage 23 | Storm | review | electro | Lollipop
What sets Tom Shear of Assemblage 23 apart from your average future pop/EBM musician is his ability let a song breathe and restrain the urge to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. His skill at allowing the song to dictate to him its needs has made him a producer that bands like The Cruxshadows, Razed in Black, cut.rate.box, The Azoic, Clan of Xymox, and Claire Voyant call on frequently to remix their songs.
Technological wizardry aside, it's clear after a cursory listen to Storm that Tom Shear is not comfortable resting on his laurels and has made a concerted effort to grow as an artist. His voice, often compared to Ronan Harris (of VNV Nation) and David Gahan (of Depeche Mode) resonates with a greater range and shows unflinching honesty.
All of the songs on Storm are interesting, engaging, or downright funky, in one way or another. There are no weak songs on the album. The lyrics are unabashed when he rebukes fame-seekers for their shallowness on "You Haven't Earned It," confesses his human frailty on "Human," expresses serenity through exposing the true inner self on "Skin," recovers from personal devastation on "Ground," exposes the dangers of "Complacency," the complete and utter wonderment of all that exists in "Infinite," and the search for sanctuary in "Let the Wind Erase Me." My personal favorite is the incredibly sad and poignant "30KFT" in which the protagonist, who is aboard a commercial airliner that plunges from 30,000 feet towards certain destruction, confesses his love and devotion to all of the people he has ever known and loved in a brief and final phone message.