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Lent to me by the same person who recently lent me My Name Is Bruce, I was not expecting much when I first decided to give this album an air but in fact, I am pleased to report, that this is actually very good.
From the cover, Rachel Stamp seem to be something of an unusual band with a very unique and rather disquieting look that certainly cannot be claimed to be borrowed from anyone else! Research into the group's background sees them being compared to a cross between Mansun and Placebo though their influences to me also appear to encompass such diverse artists as Alice Cooper, Guns 'N' Roses and Grunge band, Garbage. Certainly there is a real mixture of styles and sound here on this, their second album, that results in an experience that is always far from dull.
The album begins with Starbirth in the Triffid Nebula, my favourite track, that begins quite melodically with subtle piano before breaking out into metallic guitar and crushing, pulsating vocals that leave the listener in nodoubt what is to follow. This is without question a strong opening track that sucks you straight in right from the get-go!
Les Oceans De Vines, the title track, comes next and is a much heavier number that boasts perhaps the most influence on the album from Rock legend, Alice Cooper as it follows a similar epic style to many of his greatest album tracks. It's loud bass threatens to explode the senses and is as brilliant as it is rousing.
Black Cherry is the third track and sounds like the song that Axl Rose never sang. This sums up exactly what the latest Guns 'N' Roses album should've sounded like and has a proper retro feel to it that would not have been amiss during Trex's reign!
Witches of Angelholn follows a similar pattern to the album's first track in that it has a slightly softer lilt to it with vocals reminiscent of Shirley Manson of Garbage fame. This song feels like a Garbage/ Skunk Anansie cross-over but has a truly memorable quality to it that makes it stand out on the album!
Do Me In Once and I'll be Sad, Do Me In Twice and I'll Know Better comes next and has a tinge of pop-rock to it that means it should've probably done better when it was released as a single. It is a highly commercial track and how it came and went in the U.K with very little notice astounds me. The only thing I can put it down to is that the band probably didn't have the "right look" at the time! This is another great song that proves helps make this a highly listenable album!
The next three tracks, Superstars of Heartache, The Agony of St.Teresa and Permanent Damage are all equally as great and take the album back towards a more rockier edge and it is only track 9, Twisted, that in any way disappoints. This song starts rather too suddenly for my liking and has an electro feel that doesn't entirely gel. It is an okay number but no more than that and one that would not be missed by its exclusion.
Crucified, The Loveless and Victory all bring the album to a satisfying close and are all equally good tracks to finish off an accomplished and very neat album from a band that sadly seemed to have passed under the radar for most people. This however is the way for some bands and I am only thankful that my colleague at work thought it wise to introduce them to me. Certainly I will be keeping my eeyes peeled for a cheap copy of their debut, entitled Hymns For Strange Children, or for their album that includes exclusive live tracks, Now I'm Nailed To Your Bedroom Wall, which also doubles as a greatest hits.
Without question, this is a band that deserve a curious look ~ known by their fans as The Glam Rock Band that nearly made it big!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Starbirth in the Triffid Nebula
2 Les Oceans De Vines
3 Black Cherry
4 Witches of Angelholn
5 Do Me In Once and I'll be Sad, Do Me In Twice and I'll Know Better
6 Superstars of Heartache
7 The Agony of St.Teresa
8 Permanent Damage
11 The Loveless