Christians and Electro Rock fans unite! Not the most obvious combination, that’s for sure.
While the Synth-Rock/Electro-Rock/Alt-Rock genres seems to be reproducing offspring at light speed, Quiet Science quietly (not on purpose, I swear) nestles itself into the bursting cradle of electronic influenced rock babies. With their own unique sound and inspirational focus, they definitely have the sense to do something magical… or heavenly I should say. More often than not, that is something that doesn’t seem to translate among their peers. The current lineup is a three-piece from Florida (a couple lineup changes since its 2008 inception) that is set on bringing hope to the world through a collection of stories and a sound which is not entirely all their own. Hey, can’t win em’ all.
Dark Words on Dark Wings is the band’s second full-length album. On this go-around they decided to enlist the help of Jeremy SH Griffith (Norma Jean, Underoath) to produce and engineer, and Drew Lavyne (Foo Fighters, White Stripes, Moby) to master the album. They also were recently signed to Last Satellite Records, which happened between the release of the debut (With/Without) in May of 2010 and the newest release. The effort definitely paid dividends for the band.
The prologue to the album (“The Last Brave Soldier”) is partially confusing, but the same can be said for most instrumental beginners. It is meant to pave the way for what is to come, I understand that. The next four songs that follow do so with a clear meaning and purpose. “The Dust Storm”, my personal favorite, comes immediately after the instrumental opener, with an almost “dust-settling” theme which is played through a beautifully melodic introduction to the track. This precedes the listeners first taste (or sound) of vocalist Mark Nathan, whose tone and pitch are breathtaking. The mixing blend of keyboardist/backup vocalist Daisy Elisabeth’s vocal addition only solidifies the splendor of the song.
Moving forward with the next three tracks, “Runner” is the first single off the album and deservedly so. While it is not the most impressive song off Dark Words on Dark Wings, it is uplifting and a terrific change of pace to the prior track. While the chorus can get mildly annoying after a few listens, it is simply trying to imitate what other singles do so well – just that. “Speak to the Dark” comes next (4th for those not keeping track) and relies heavily on the Synth-Rock element. Elisabeth adds minimal vocal bits to the chorus, but she takes the lead on keyboard as it dominates the high points of the track (not a bad thing). The second single, “A Dying Breed” comes next, and shows a much more upbeat version of the band, with an actual emphasis on drummer Robert Wesley. The sad thing is that you actually remember that Quiet Science has a drummer during this one as he is rather insignificant up till this point. Sigh.
As a huge Shiny Toy Guns fan (large similarity), it was not hard for me to enjoy this album. What makes it extremely enjoyable is Nathan’s penetrating vocal thunder. The only flaw to note is how top-heavy the album is – seriously, it almost tips over. There is an evident lack of flow once the mid-point of the album comes, and while the songs are all very much tolerable, the album’s progression stumbles a bit. Overall though, Dark Words on Dark Wings is an inspirational collection of nine songs (ten minus the opener) told through Nathan’s voice and Elisabeth’s keyboard (mostly). And while the Christian/Electro-Rock genre mix is curious, Quiet Science definitely makes it work.
For Those Who Like: Shiny Toy Guns’ We Are Pilots – Depeche Mode’s Violator – Coldplay’s X & Y