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‘Postcards from Berlin’ seems like a soundtrack featuring songs set within a narrow, well-defined style.

Music Review: [debut] – ‘Postcards from Berlin’

Los Angeles band [debut], a fusion of alternative, rock, and electronic music created by Gareth Thomas, began as a solo project resulting in two instrumental studio albums. But Thomas meant it to be “more than a band”, a sort of “music and art collective with an ever-changing cast”. Released earlier this month, Postcards from Berlin is built on soaring strings, dark melodies, brooding pianos, pounding drums, pulsing electronics, and the participation of many “collaborators”, including a choir of Kickstarter supporters who helped fund it.

Fronted by Thomas, the nine tracks spans both electro pop and alternative rock. The result is an atmospheric, emotive, and almost cinematic experience, making it similar to listening to a movie soundtrack. The songs, set within a narrow style defined within the first minute of “Not the One,” its first track—dark, throbbing, sleek, and catchy, with sometimes repetitive lyrics—fit together quite seamlessly in an auditory story of sorts. If you like one song, you will probably like them all.

There are some variations within each track. The opening piano “Not the One” leads into a straightforward melody, the calm flow of which is intermittently shattered by an electric guitar-led chorus. A piano closes “More Than This” with a simple, lullaby feel that contrasts with the sense of invulnerability and confidence portrayed by the lyrics. The song’s ending gives it an unfinished sense, perhaps the promise that an unfinished story. Combined with Angela Barty’s vocals, the strings in “Come Around” create an almost hypnotic feel. There is something about this track—its opening notes, the emotions it conveys—that can bring to mind Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”.

“Low” is relatively plain, featuring fewer layers than the album’s average, creating the space needed to appreciate the meticulousness of its details. The ballad-like “Everyday I Love You More” is similarly uncomplicated, while at the same time featuring a sound reminiscent of a large symphony. Thomas chose to use limited lyrical content in Postcards—perhaps it is a reflection of the limited space a postcard offers. In “Want”, this doesn’t limit Cyn St. Clair to impress with her airy vocals. In “Here Tonight” however, it leaves you wanting (ironically perhaps) for more. The album ends with the aptly named “Passion” which, with its piano-driven fluctuating melody that ebbs and flows, seems to reflect both the strength one finds in this emotion and the vulnerability it generates.

Postcards from Berlin is well-produced and consistently delivers meticulously composed music. More information about the band is available on their official website; take a listen thanks to their YouTube channel.

Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.

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