Azure Wonder & Lust
Castle Von Buhler
In theory, this should be a really good record for people who like this sort of thing. Annette Farrington has a nice, pretty, Kate Bush-like voice, and has found a collaborator in industry soldier producer Anthony J. Resta. Azure Wonder & Lust aims for electronic trance-dance rock on the ethereal tip. Which, if you’re a not-quite-so-depressed goth kid or a slightly funky suburban parent, might be very interesting. Comfort me with your smooth synthesizers, wrap me in not-very-surprising lyrics, be a nice little boring-fun disc.
Sadly, it isn’t working for me, and I think I know why. It’s not Farrington’s blandish new-age lyrics, and it’s not the aimless nature of the songs, which don’t really seem to know where they’re going. Those things, I could handle, in theory. Why not? I’m in a good mood these days.
No, I think that what’s freaking me out is the tension between Farrington and Resta. This is based on armchair musical psychology of the worst sort, but lemme try anyway. It’s like they can’t decide whether to feature Annette’s voice or Anthony’s programmed beats, both of which are constantly fighting for space in the mix. You can’t really tell what the hell she’s singing about without the lyric booklet, with all the extraneous sounds bouncing around. This spoils otherwise-interesting tracks like “Magic” and “I Might Not Be Here,” and doesn’t do much for “Exotica” either — no one should attempt to rip off Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” unless his name is Giorgio Moroder.
Resta wants this album to be a showcase for his kind-of interesting laptop work; Farrington wants this to be a singer-songwriter showcase. I think they have to make up their minds. The cuts on here that Farrington writes by herself (the neat wordless vocal performance of “Rhapsody,” the guitar-driven and mostly-sexy “Dive”) have a kind of spunk that the other tracks don’t feature much, and the one song here that was programmed by Kasson Crooker, the weird “Black Man’s Daughter,” is at least an interestingly pretentious failure. But the rest of the disc just gets lost in the ongoing argument between the woman whose name is on the cover and the producer who is all over the sleeve.
Hey, I could be wrong: maybe Annette and Anthony are in perfect agreement about this music. If this is the case, then they should be fighting a little more. All in all: needs more work, kids. Back to the lab–but work that stuff out first.