Tweaker – [Album]

Monday, 22 October 2012

Remember the first time you heard Tweaker about ten or eleven years ago? It was an unusual time; the Matrix movie trilogy was setting box office records (the series hadn't become disappointing yet), Marilyn Manson was still being called “the God of Fuck” instead of “a pasty. bloated codfish” and “parody of himself,” and bands like Tool and Gorillaz were still holding sway on the charts as they pushed the boundaries of what was permissible in alt-rock. It was pretty cool and interesting to watch popular trends bend as they were, but the group really exploring undiscovered countries was Tweaker. Formed by in-demand drummer and mix master Chris Vrenna in the late Nineties, Tweaker was the fantastic extension of Vrenna's already established leanings toward electronica that ended up marking an all-new inroad to pop; Tweaker was an almost open-forum music project which showcased excellent electronic composition made perfectly accessible by the inclusion of myriad alt-rock stars which included David Sylvain (ex-Japan), Buzz Osborne (of The Melvins), Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Billy), Robert Smith (of The Cure) and Johnny Marr (ex- The Smiths) among the biggest names.

Tweaker was a fantastic idea and proved to be a consistently rewarding listen; it was like listening to an intelligent and urbane form of violent darkness and once a listener was hooked by the sound, they were in for the long haul because the music could appear as easily as a flash mob and then it would gently molest the sensibilities before completely disappearing until the next outbreak.

The last time Tweaker broke out was eight years ago. Since then, Vrenna joined Marilyn Manson for one wildly over-extended minute and contributed to both High End Of Low and Born Villain, and then he promptly served his notice after work on Born Villain wrapped but before it came out. When the notice that Vrenna was leaving Manson went out though, there wasn't a whole lot of future projects; what was Vrenna's plan? Remix work? While further examination of that outlet seems inevitable, the producer has also elected to re-ignite the burners beneath Tweaker to everyone's surprise. Even more surprising is just how good Call The Time Eternity sounds.

Right from the beginning, listeners will be floored  to discover that, while all of the sounds in “Ponygrinder” (the track which opens Call The Time Eternity) are familiar, the results sound fresh, vibrant and brand new for 2012. The tenets and structures which inform the song are exactly the same as those which wowed listeners about The Attraction to All Things Uncertain a decade ago (the dramatic synthetic orchestrations and trip hop vibes combined with the tidy and urbane jazz overtones), but they flourish beautifully instead of seeming musty. The chilly vibes and demeanor of the orchestration conjure colors (violet, periwinkle) which sweep over and easily overtake listeners, and those listening will be surprised to discover that they're completely fine with that; the sort of beautiful, vaguely malicious twilight cast is hypnotic. It is similar to what Vrenna has done before with Tweaker, but that familiarity gives an incredible level of comfort to listeners, and they'll find themselves indulging in “Ponygrinder” happily – like an old friend they haven't seen since they took their eyeliner off years ago.

The icy, chilly and purple backdrop set up with “Ponygrinder” remains on the walls as Scarling chanteuse Jessicka Addams takes the mic for the serenely dark impression of “Nothing At All” (which manages to drag Vrenna's darkness into a perfectly “pop” light without changing the shade of the song one iota – it's worth noting) and remains in place even as “Hoarding Granules” begins to teeter on the brink of sanity and “Grounded” flies clean off the handle into full-blown goth. As the record progresses too – while it proves to not be without its flaws (“This Is Ridiculous” lives up to its name as it attempts to resuscitate 1997) – it is an excellent return which proves that the sound and style can indeed hold up. After the succession of sloppy dreck which has come from his peers over the last few years (really think about it – how many gothic and industrial bands are still making good new music? Even Trent Reznor closed the door on Nine Inch Nails because it was in danger of becoming irredeemably stale), Vrenna and his production style may indeed be the only things about the goth renaissance which have aged well over the last fifteen years. Call The Time Eternity is proof that there is still life after goth.



Call The Time Eternity
will be released on October 23, 2012 via Metropolis Records. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

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