by The Birthday Massacre
Consistently haunting along the dark wave scene since 1999, Canadian band The Birthday Massacre has recently released their 9th album Fascination. Having dropped on February 18, 2022, the entire album is a beautiful marriage of the ethereal vocals of it’s lead singer, Sara “Chibi” Taylor and the dark synthetic sound that the band is so well known for.
Fascination delivers a similar feel to the bands prior albums that came before, and this is not something grounded in the negative. A continuing, slow evolutionary sound that they have spent time mastering through past albums such as Hide and Seek, Imagica, and 2020’s Diamonds. The tracks of Fascination alternate between slower paced, more romantically themed songs, and a harder, darker sound that would be easily at home echoing out over a goth clubs dance floor. I don’t think I’ve ever found a musical talent whose sound so perfectly corresponds to the art of their album covers. Fascination “sounds” like being led into mysterious new surroundings by some fae child under a violet hued night sky.
It’s title track, Fascination, starts out with the twinkling of keyboard keys, popping into existence like stars at night, before the rest of the song envelopes you with Chibis vocals extolling her new obsession. It sets the thematic feeling of the album overall and is a powerful starter. Dreams of You, One More Time, and Once Again are more romantic in their subject matter, hitting on both love found and lost while Cold Lights, Like Fear, Like Love, and Precious Hearts each come on stronger, and are far more likely to be deployed from a DJ’s arsenal.
A few stand out songs – Stars and Satellites is definitely one of the stronger tracks, and while starting out with a slower beat, boasts some powerful guitar riffs and Chibis vocals help paint a celestial soundscape. My favorite ballad is it’s closing one, the aptly named The End of All Stories. It’s the slowest piece on the album, something I am oddly predisposed to in most cases, and brings together all the good elements that the band has to offer to allow a slow fade out for the albums end. The beautiful vocals, powerful guitars, and those wonderful synths which for me play off a nostalgia for bygone eras of music. I miss the 80’s and am grateful that it’s sound lives on in albums like this.
Altogether, Fascination will offer fans of The Birthday Massacre another lovely helping of everything that made them fall in love with the band in the first place. Yes, it does tend to sound a great deal like what came before in their discography, but if something isn’t broke why try and reinvent it? Putting this album on will net exactly what the world could use more of – beautifully gloomy music being performed by beautifully gloomy Canadian musicians.
You can purchase the album on bandcamp.
By James Kelly