Bella Lune / Hyperbubble / The Sexbots

ARTIST - TITLE
Bella Lune – Synesthesia
CD, Aetheria Music, 2010
www.bellalune.net
With their second album, Bella Lune seem to confirm what their debut indicated. In short, late ’90s goth-pop, particularly Switchblade Symphony, is their reference. Granted, this is a kind of sound that has come and gone years ago, but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s unavoidable that there will be a follow-up to the work of seminal artists, a way of ‘keeping the torch alive’ (no matter how extinguished it may seem). And if someone is following someone’s footsteps, they might as well do it right – something that Bella Lune have proved more than capable of doing, with a few twists and turns of their own. Poppy melodies, a kitschy spooky-yet-cute aesthetic, lots of black lace and a modest dose of sleaze pretty much describe this Arizona-based band in a nutshell, as well as the music genre they can be pigeonholed in. Though Bella Lune are bound to raise some eyebrows and the odd scornful comment, “Synestheria” is perfectly valid in the sub-culture niche that they have chosen to work and, at some points, potentially appealing to the odd listener. The main criticism to Bella Lune and “Synesthesia” is that they should try to push the boundaries they set for themselves, strive to diversify their sound a bit and perhaps even inject some serious aggression to their work. It might work. [7/10]

Hyperbubble - Candy Apple Daydreams
Hyperbubble – Candy Apple Daydreams
CD, Bubblegum Records, 2010
www.hyperbubble.net
Face it, not all music that one comes across has to have a deeper philosophical meaning or be a piece of art, some of it can be quite simply unpretentious fun stuff. The kind of bouncy and bubbly upbeat party music which brings about the feet-tapping reflex and which can linger in one’s ear, only to come back when least expected. In short, Hyperbubble provide us with this audio version of delicious artificially-flavoured chewing gum – with the advantage that it will always remain fresh and fully-flavoured to be revisited at any time (unlike the chewing gum you stuck under the seat just now…). As an added bonus, their brand of musical chewing gum is also particularly witty, with the odd mordant lyrics, but the mood is always hopelessly upbeat and optimistic without being in the least naïve. And all the British idiosyncrasies only add to the charm of the album – “Mind the Gap” is the obvious example for those who have been to London but “Pictures of Paradise” is all the more subtle in its lighthearted treatment of the more serious subject of excessive CCTV vigilance in the UK. If you like your electro and synthpop unashamedly fun and optimistic, “Candy Apple Daydreams” is a must; if you’re just curious, give Hypperbubble a chance and listen with an open mind… Perhaps it’s true when they say that “good times are taking over!” [7.5/10]

 The Sexbots - Eee Pee
The Sexbots – Eee Pee
CD/digital, self-released, 2010
www.myspace.com/thesexbots
The debut release of this collaborative project is something of a strange beast – delightfully flawed and alluring at the same time. Björk comes across as a comparative reference here, especially where Ilima Considine’s vocals are concerned but, other than that, anything goes as far as melodic and beat fuckery goes, with the instrumentals and some production being supplied through collaborative work over the Internet with independent musicians. Short as it may be, “Eee Pee” hints at untapped potential that needs to be developed – the idea of quasi-random and promiscuous long-distance artistic collaborations certainly is worthy of further and thorough exploration. Even if, musically, the overall end result can be somewhat uneven, the musical patchwork variety and the punky lo-fi experimental approach are essential parts of the charm of the Sexbots. Nevertheless, some production issues in terms of mastering and sound levelling should be addressed to polish up the end result – purely from a technical point of view – as they significantly detract from the end result. [6.5/10]

— Miguel de Sousa