After more than a decade of creating innovative darkwave music, Project Pitchfork are back in the limelight with their latest release, Kaskade. Although not as powerful as their 2001 gem, Diamonion, their latest offering showcases a maturing and continually evolving sound design. The album’s opener, “Instead of an Angle,” is a smooth mid-tempo piece that finds the band comfortable and focused. By contrast, “The Future is Now” blasts with distorted percussion and robotic-style vocals. It’s a harder-edged track reminiscent of their earlier works: mammoth analog bass plays alongside vicious drum patterns treading an adventurous path. This is one of my top favorites on the album. The next few tracks are not very well structured, making for a mediocre listening experience. But don’t toss in the towel just yet. “Fleischverstarker” follows with Peter Spilles’s growling German vocals. A steady groove makes for a perfect dance anthem. Pushing their programming techniques to the limits, “The Touch” creeps in with a menacing tone. A vibrant chorus raises the bar with climactic results.
Next in line, “Abyss” contains an impressive soundscape loaded with vitality. With tracks like this, Project Pitchfork stray away from their earlier rapid tempo propaganda. Varying styles abound on “A Dream,” where the listener finds surprises at every turn. One appeal here is not knowing what direction the song will take next. True bass guitar riffs provide a nice touch. The nearly commercial-sounding “The Present” shines with power chords and terrific songwriting. A more daring vibe is found on “Chains,” with its diverse drum panning combined with a synthesized symphony. A great track demanding repeated exposure. Space age production brings “Your Tempting Fantasy” to life. Before you know it, you will be chanting, “Do you feel/do you think/do you see/do you hear/do you know – love was the beginning destination and the reason for an end.” Evincing a more early eighties feel, “Echoes” swoops in with momentum. This one will appeal to fans of early New Order. Returning to their native tongue, “Schall und Rouch” takes control and satisfies. This could have been a huge single, if it was performed in English. Nonetheless, it is a treasure to be cherished. Finishing off Kaskade we come to “It’s Spring,” with the boys showing off yet another side of their ever-changing spectrum of sounds. Like a chameleon shedding its skin, Project Pitchfork have reemerged with an uplifting body of work. For those disappointed by their 2002 sleeper Inferno, Kaskade proves that even musicians learn from their mistakes.
Metropolis Records: www.metropolis-records.com