Innerpartysystems self-titled debut is a curious case of what happens when you combine really cool electronica music with a singer who might be a little too emotive. That is not to say that the vocals are bad or good here, they just go together with the music in a weird way.
Innerpartysystem is actually from the United States, which is surprising for the amount of dance and techno they include in songs. The bands name is also from the “little known” book 1984 by George Orwell and deals with the class systems in the book. So what you have is an American electronica rock band who is interested in injustice and social issues, or at least looks and sounds as if they do.
The group is poised to have some sort of breakout in the mainstream. They played Projekt Revolution and Lollapalooza, so they can handle festivals. They’ve also been featured on video game soundtracks, so clearly a lot of people are hearing this band, probably thanks to their record company, Stolen Transmission, a label which has made stars out of My Chemical Romance and The Killers. That being said, look out world.
The main problem with Innerpartysystem and many contemporary American electronic-based bands is that they are behind the rest of the world when it comes to electronic music. The band looks like every other band you can think of; they wear the same drab dark clothes, they throw in a few socially conscious lyrics, and this album is a marketable 50 minutes. But, for the most part, the music is really solid and while not quite on the cutting edge of electronic music, it is fun and digestible.
The album starts off with Die Tonight Live Forever, which has a real strong industrial lead and is heavy in all the right places, and that’s before eventually finding a chorus and numerous buttons and knobs on the synthesizer. Last Night in Brooklyn is actually a very fun song. It has a good little synth part throughout, which is really only stopped when the softly sung emotive vocals kick in. Everyone Is the Same sounds like a Duran Duran song, with synthpop sound mixed in more feminine style lyrics. It’s a good track, but the style was done more effectively by Duran Duran and recently The Killers.
Obsession is a decent little track, but the lyrics draw close similarities to stuff done by She Wants Revenge. It’s one of the numerous cuts on the album that has “love” in the lyrics. Now, there is nothing wrong with a song dealing with love, but it does grow a little old when it becomes a songwriting crutch. New Poetry draws a lot of influence off the R&B guitar lines found in a lot of synthpop songs of the 1980s, and while an awesome sound, it’s not done effectively in the track. Heart on Fire is one of the more harder-edged, techno-sounding songs on the album, and the first 45 seconds are really fun, but the song, of course, devolves into a demo for the lead singers pipes and whatever keyboard company they might be playing with.
Overall, Innerpartysystem tries to do something interesting. It tries to bring electronica into the mainstream, with an American band performing fairly decent electronic music, bringing along a singer who could easily become easy on the ears to many a teenage girl or boy. The problem with this attempt is that a lot of bands are doing similar things, and they are doing it better and with more challenging lyrics and newer sounds. This album is a decent start for Innerpartysystem, but hopefully with some more success, which the band will undoubtedly have, they can stretch their music a little more and do something much more relevant to the electronic music landscape.