2CD-R/free download, Artoffact, 2009
A new band with a new name, at least in my little world, and a mysterious name at that. Using the magic of the internet then, I attempted to find out who or what Urceus is and was rather stumped to find the band’s website and MySpace as the second and third entries. The first entry is to the Dictionary of Difficult Words, which informs me an “urceus” is a single handed jug, which doesn’t really convince me it’s what the band may have intended. Still, Urceus Exit are a relatively new synthpop band from Vancouver who don’t seem to be too keen on providing a lot of information about themselves on-line. What they do provide though, is a free downloadable album.
The first disc of “Compensation For The Sound Of Silence” is available for download from www.urceusexit.com and if you like that, then you can purchase a proper CD version with a second disc, containing alternative versions of the same tracks, from Artoffact. I’m a bit of a Luddite and still unconvinced about giving away full albums for free, so I will focus more on the disc which costs money, but the important point to make here is that this album is definitely worth it. Quality synthpop with all the catchy hooks, heartfelt lyrics and dance floor anthems you could wish for, and the main impression I’m getting is the memory of the great Depeche Mode. I’m not saying Urceus Exit sound like Depeche Mode to any degree, most synthpop bands younger than the Mode sound like them; rather they remind me of them in the imagination and originality displayed in their compositions.
Disc two opens with the claustrophobic atmospherics of “King”, building up to a heavier, bass dominated second half, before “Evening’s Rush” actually slows things down with carefully constructed electronica rhythms. “Drifting” is lovely and would be a great choice for a hit single, with a very strong chorus, followed closely by “The Worst That We’ve Become”, which keeps the momentum going and emotions suitably touched. “Pretend” is a little more upbeat and harder, “My Reward” quite considered and reflective and then “It All Adds Up To Zero” is somewhat moodier and more aggressive. “The Road Not Taken” instrumental interlude on disc two is known as “The Road Less Travelled” on disc one, the former a gently haunting refrain, the latter a threatening beast. We then have another powerful synthpop hit, “What Lies Inside”, before the groovy swing of “The Mobilization Of Blindness”, harshly condemning some unspecified figure for their lies. With the delicate and slightly psychedelic “Unbecoming” and the title track bringing things to an effective close, with one of the most memorable choruses of the album, I’m left feeling very satisfied and ready to encourage readers that this is one of the synthpop albums of the year and deserving of your hard-earned cash!
— Nathan Clemence