(of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original.
(of a person) introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking.
Beautiful album art done by Paul Romano.
Gutter Tactics absolutely blew me away back in 2009. It was an album that completely revitalized my interests in experimental modern music and made me eagerly anticipate a followup.
So, after 7 years we have Asphalt For Eden. I’m not one to typically purchase anything on release dates but this was different. Gutter Tactics was easily one of my favourite albums of that year’s releases and infrequently gets abandoned from my phone’s music list. The question is, does Asphalt For Eden deliver? With that much personal hype invested it could have easily disappointed. I’m happy to say, it is just as good. Maybe even better.
Whether you are a fan of “rapping” vocals or not I can’t recommend this album enough. Asphalt For Eden contains a few more catchy hooks than other albums in this Jersey born band’s discography but it actually works to make the music more interesting and diverse. The artistic integrity is still in tact and while songs like Shattered and Guaranteed Struggle do offer a more steady rhythm to the often noisy, ambient and atmospheric song structures, it does so tastefully. For those more interested in the dark psychedelia of past albums, there are plenty of textures and cacophonous compositions to sink your teeth into. 6dB and Masked Laughter are prime examples of the more experimental pieces here and they do not disappoint. They are sequenced perfectly between some of the more accessible songs here and work to balance the album out well.
Eden indeed (en)
Things are a little less angry this time around with less attention spent on social criticisms and frustrations with the world at large. That isn’t to say that these themes aren’t present. If anything, they are more impactful than ever as they are woven into the lyrical fabric more tactfully and, as such come across more fully realized. Shattered is a perfect example of this with it’s accusations that people of all states struggle with hope and that “world has cataracts.”
Other songs like the mentioned Masked Laughter are a lot more introspective. There is a sense of personal anguish and frustration that can be heard from Brooks that isn’t typical. This change in lyrical direction makes this album much more engaging for me than some of their past works. At a short 38 minutes it concise, evocative and well conceived. It Just Is ends the album well with and showcases a few new ideas. The moodier, electronic intro separates it from the other 6 tracks. Lyrically, it is sparse. If this is the direction of future Dalek, I would be happy.
Asphalt For Eden is not only a terrific successor to Asphalt For Eden but a fantastic return for a band who spent 7 years in “hiatus.” It isn’t as dour or as ambient as some of their earlier records but the changes they have made in their music are for the better. I’m just hopeful that they will stick to this project with the current members and build off of this template.
Masked Laughter (Nothing’s Left)
It Just Is