OpinionHated

The Hated Opinionated One

Dropz Drip Out Sonic Absinthe

Posted by Scotio on June 11, 2008

You ever sit around in a quiet place and have music playing in your head as if you have a mental jukebox? Being that I can’t hear you answer that question, I’ll just move on as if you answered and I didn’t care. Well, that happens to me quite often. Which I guess by today’s clinical standard, that should mean that I should be on some sort of pill. But, I like my little internal music. Sometimes it’s a song I never actually heard before being played in it. More often, though, it’s music that I’ve heard before . . . just not recently. Well, such was the case a few days ago. And, the song was “The Concept” by the band Dropz. I asked a friend of mine, who shares a similar love for Sneaker Pimps as I do, if he ever heard Dropz‘s album Sweet Oblivion or any music from them. He responded with no. At which point I was not only floored, but forced to play him hear a few songs from them. While that was going on, I thought about how many people never knew that the band even exists(ed?). So, I decided to cook up a review of their album in hopes to spark interest in their music. Let’s begin, shall we?

The aforementioned song “The Concept” opens up the album. Which is a very groovy way to do so, with the song housing the lines “There’s a Beast inside of us”  for the chorus. Everything about the sound is somewhat familiar to anyone who has heard the Becoming X album by Sneaker Pimps. That will be for two reasons: 1.) The main composer of the music, Hoshino Hidehiko aka Hide(from the J-Rock iconic band BUCK-TICK), listened to that album heavily when he was crafting the sound for this album; 2.) The lead vocals are handled by Kelli Ali(formerly Kelli Dayton) of Becoming X fame. Cube Juice makes up the third leg of this tripod group.

The following track’s sound, “Read My Mind,” is as uplifting as its lyrics are depressive. I know I’ve said it before, but this is really a summer track. A musical soundtrack to a fun trip traveling somewhere new and adventurous, or even just a good song to play while folks are on an amusement park ride. For me, it leans the most to the latter, due to childhood memories of music similar to this playing when I was on such rides. But, as I said, the lyrics aren’t as bright and sunny as the music is. Kelli sings about a turbulent relationship and their inability to properly communicate. It’s an odd mixture, but again, if you’re a Becoming X fan, you’re very familiar with such a combination.

The brilliance about this is that, every member seems to make the song better. Such is the case with the track “Dream Machine.” Cube takes Hide’s electronic guitar and drum attacks, fills it up with his electronic distortion and static harmony, then Kelli comes in and lays the track out flat with her simple, yet bold, lyrics that point out how fickle our society is about machinery and physical enhancements. Stating how people of today can easily go and get anything fixed on their person to the point where “turning you on’s like turning on TV.” Granted, everyone nowadays is saying that, but this was made in 2003-2004. So, at that time(though it was only a few years ago) folks were declared “dweebs” for not following the trend . . . ass implants, ladies?

One of the biggest and most rocking out tracks on this collection is “I Spy.” Hide strums his axe with ease and precision. The live drums are loud, noticeable, and hip-moving. Kelli doesn’t stand-out from the music. Instead, she rides inside of it like a piece of paper on a wave. Cube’s additions to this aren’t heavy, either. Also, he just adds to what’s there, builds with it, and doesn’t try to overshine Hide’s work . . . well, at least not until the end of the track.

Oh, and if you’re lucky, you would have snagged yourself a Limited Edition of the album, which has a second disc featuring all the songs from the main album but remixed by the group’s artists and electronic disco techno knob-twister Bryan Black. Yeah, I guess another thing similar to Becoming X, only it features all the songs and not the selective ones that others liked and wanted to bunch up the album with repeatedly. The remixes are just as nice and neck swinging as the originals. The remix album is so solid that it could be a stand-alone disc and could equally compete for dominance against the original work. I know, I’ve faced horrid remixed material, as well. So, trust me when I say that such is not the case, here. But, I will say that the remixes would fair over better with those deeper into electronic music than the average listener. And, typically, the Japanese market(where the album was primarily released).

Out of all 20 tracks, my favorite would have to be “Lose The Boy [Antidepressant Remix].” It has more oldschool Hip-Hop styled drums, and Electronic Madonna-styled voice effects . . . so much so that if you told someone it was a new or unreleased Madonna track, I’m sure they’d believe you. But, it’s just something about it. The original is magical, also, but this remix just does something. It reaches some sadder more sullen place, yet smooths everything out to make the bad seem ok. The electronic effects that are laced throughout the song are just enchanting. They hold you dearly, and craddle you like some type of depressing, yet soothing, lullaby.

I’m sure that a good bit of people have discarded this album simply because of the similarities to Becoming X. But, fans of that superly solid debut album by such a ground shaking Trip-Hop act should look to this as “What if Sneaker Pimps redid their music and added Kelli back into the fold in this day and age?” This is that sound, but not quite. I say that because none of the SPs housed the guitar savvy skills that Hide does. I will say that Cube Juice would put them in for a good run for their money, and the winner of that outcome would have to be witnessed and not predicted. Still, I feel that this album holds a special place for me due to the special place that Becoming X holds. Is that fair? Who knows. Who cares, either? Because if it wasn’t for Becoming X, this album, let alone this group wouldn’t have ever been created in the first place. Top that, cool cats!

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