CD, FrightDoll Records, 2007
The contemporary darkwave scene is totally oversaturated with completely unnecessary and pointless bands lacking in any inspiration or identity, and in most cases it’s all influenced by the ready-made, preset sounds of trance music. Whether the faux-emotional dance floor contrivances of the so-called futurepop artists, or the add-distortion-for-instant-power of the laughable screeching goblins producing “Terror EBM,” “Hellektro” or “Aggrotech” nonsense, it’s all becoming depressingly tedious and forces many to leave the scene in search of more mature and considered sounds. Well, FrightDoll is aware of the intense competition between so many clichéd groups offering the same sounds and she, according to her press release, has one major weapon with which to fight for attention: personality!
You don’t even have to listen to this album to tell it’s going to be awful. The fact that it’s released on an eponymous record label sets alarm bells ringing, as does the dubious imagery of the not-especially-attractive Ms. FrightDoll posing smugly in PVC attire over a generic black and red background of circuitry and stars. The title, “Reference Version,” is surprisingly bland and the song titles are awkwardly vague – presumably chosen more for their sound than meaning. Lyrics have been helpfully included and provide some amusing reading: “expire all my sessions, to close the door on my obsessions,” “I’m gonna lose myself in another sound, I’m gonna lose myself in another place,” “steps inconstant, insistence inconsistent;” I could go on. Very little of it says anything and seems a clumsy attempt at using some long words and trying to sound technological. So far not the kind of personality with which I’d wish to get acquainted.
I managed to listen to this CD almost twice (in separate sessions, I’m not mad!) and became enraged to the point where I just about lost faith in humanity. The music is precisely the identikit, by-numbers, pre-programmed modern EBM from which she has claimed to stand out or above. There is however one discerning feature: the melodies and basslines frequently seem to slip out of time with one another, or creep jarringly out of tune, which is something you rarely hear in music that is so straightforward in its creation. The main feature of course is FrightDoll’s voice, and I defy anybody to find any trace of character or talent! She is not unique, she does not display a strong personality; she sounds like a cheap imitation of a sleazy pop singer like Spears or Aguilera trying so very hard to be sinister, moody and sexy. If you love ‘futurepoop’ and gay spooky EBM (and you will grow out of it), then download this for free first because it would be a shame to waste your money on something so lamentable.
— Nathan Clemence