Afterthoughts EP

We Are Temporary

Stars & Letters, 2013

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Mark Roberts is not a happy guy on Afterthoughts. In fact, this sole force behind We Are Temporary sounds tortured and tormented by the demons in his own self, and it seems, by the banality of existence in general. He has said that the album is a product of personal failures that he had to go through while writing it. And although he has stated that putting all the tumult into his music was all he could do to deal with the dark period that was consuming his life, the result is a bit too much over-the-top sloppy melodrama, of which the main culprit is Roberts’ singing. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It seems that Roberts is literally attempting as hard as he could to cry in each of the songs on this EP. Rather than making his voice naturally and elegantly convey the pain in the songs, he tries to overstuff them with grief with his totally creepy vocal inflections, making a bloated mess of them and resulting in a cry-fest.

Roberts’ peculiar singing aside, there is nothing wrong with Afterthoughts otherwise. Roberts has a made a conscious move to make We Are Temporary a completely different entity than his previous project, The Enright House. While The Enright House – and its only full-length release, A Maze And Amazement – was experimental lo-fi indie rock, Afterthoughts is all synthesizers and gothic musical arrangements. Roberts creates a world of gloom draped in lush textures of industrial electronica that sound soothing and somber at the same time.

This disc is a modern day equivalent of ‘80s goth. Much of the music here is driven by aggressive EBM rhythms, though the beats are kept muffled to give a darker and more suffocating effect; this comes through on the dancier cuts, “Afterthoughts,” “Hurt,” and “Swords.” On the other hand, “In Perfect Blooms Of Color,” “Satellites,” and “Starash” are slower, more heartfelt pieces, with “Starash” being the most haunting of the three.

Musically, Roberts is able to create a masterful mixture of melody and melancholy with the synthesizers in a set of songs that are simple, yet cloaked in beautifully dense layers. As far as the vocals, the music conveys perfectly the album’s tone, even before Roberts utters its first words; so a toned down vocal performance could have worked just as effectively.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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