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Review: Disasteradio – Sweatshop

It has been seven long years since Charisma was released.

Wait.

It has been seven short years since Charisma was released.

Wait.

It has been almost seven years since Charisma was released. It seemed that perhaps Disasteradio had succumbed to some sort of unbreakable barrier after the release and we’d never hear music under than moniker again.

However, much like the sounds of the 80’s throughout the prior decade, Disasteradio is back with Sweatshop, an album full of poppy tunes that will eat your ears.

After little activity for most of a decade, what better a track to open the new album with than “Whateverworld”?

There could be something a little more restrained, dramatic and vocally trying to be subtle about something related to returning, but instead it goes for upbeat, energetic, and brief.

It seems that brevity was the modus operandi of Sweatshop. Few, if any of the songs are longer than they should be. They are long enough to not leaving you wanting more of a song, but short enough to make sure that there’s no bloat in any given track, leaving them quite lean and effective.

Much of the mood is upbeat and energetic, driven by heavy synth work.

Some of the songs are slower and more tender in sound than others (such as “Unleash the Free TV Revolt” and “Oh Yeah”), but these are few and far between and work well to counterbalance the rest of the album and in turn prevent it from being an overload of energetic synth work.

The vocals are wielded as though they are another sound for the songs rather than their own thing. The approach hasn’t changed much from prior albums, but they always manage to work in each song they’re used. Various lyrics about watching shows about T.V. on M.T.V., never getting to the city and taking it to the sweatshop, among other themes are spread throughout the record, sung by a vocoded voice that feels as electronic as the sounds they accompany.

If there is any downfall to the record, it is that it feels a little too much like a genre throwback in places. Whilst Disasteradio has always seemed to lean a little consciously on the past, on Sweatshop it seems a little more so. What is done with the sounds used is handled quite well and it’s difficult to find fault with the choice, but at times it is distracting due to those moments not feeling as balanced with something a little more forward-looking than the rest of the album.

Sweatshop is a solid album from a solid artist. It’s fun and upbeat in sound, comprised of a collection of well-crafted songs. It could have easily been bad but it wasn’t.

It’s a good addition to the Disasteradio discography that shows that there’s still plenty of drive left.

Hopefully the wait for the next record isn’t anywhere near as long.