Review by Michael Morgan Peter Chauncey's latest album, rhythms of initiation, reels with colorful industrial sounds, soulful singing and ever-changing synth romps. "Body In Motion" starts off with a fat, raunchy, whooping synth bass-line. The artist's heady, soulful voice is backed by a well-arranged set of club-like percussives and kinky synth sizzles. The last 30 seconds of the song culminates in a set of Prince-like cries and harmonies.
"Did I Hear You Say" also carries a soulful swoon but is more ethereal with a floating, rickety synth line that colors most of the song. Ignoring filler-moments, there are some innovative ones during the song where a piano fill rears its head into the chorus periodically; it seems to be the glue that holds the song together nicely.
"Here Are Our Top Stories" has more industrial sounds and field noises within it to keep it busy enough for listener's ears to feast on. These transitional songs are sprinkled throughout the album, certainly making it more intriguing for listeners and fans of experimental electronic music like Moby and M83.
"To the Point of Obsession" has electric-like synth currents running through the song. The singer's voice is raw and uninhibited. He uses backing harmonies (what sound like his own voice) sparingly and well. Even though the singer's voice lacks tone and strength, it has an airy, r-n-b feel to it, similar to Michael MacDonald that listeners will connect with.
"Bridge of Pages" is an orchestral piece combining jazz and classical melodies. It's highly experimental and deviates completely from the previous tracks on the record, which were more electronic and dance-oriented. This song might be a big surprise for listeners, and will either confuse listeners or intrigue them because of its radically different style.
"Belly" is appropriately named, (especially if listened to with a good set of noise-canceling headphones) since the beginning of the song has primal deep bellows that listeners may feel in their bellies. The song ends the way a large metal door would end a chapter in a book about noise. "Damage Under Pressure" is filled with lots of ear candy-- static and vocal fills, along with clanking synth samples. The song's verses are held together by an 80s-like deep bass synth. Chauncey's voice on this song is more Bowie and less MacDonald. Listeners who liked the first few tracks will also enjoy this one as well. The middle of the song gets a bit nu-ravish with a repeating set of synth lines, smiling strobes, but the song quickly gets back on track with its original verses structure.
"Down the Road" has a bouncy hip-hop rhythm unheard on the album. It has a set of repetitive and hypnotic samples including a resonating machine-like echo and a circuitous acoustic guitar line. Clocking in at 1:29, it is a quick dirgey interlude.
"Can I Come Over" is one of the most pop-n-soul oriented songs on the album but it is a little bit too long for radio as it clocks in at 6:44. The song is well-arranged but could really use more vocal backings.
"Exploration" blends traditional horn sounds with synth rhythms and atmospherics. A delicately strung harp can also be heard in the background. This song is another one of the artist's experimental transitions into the end of the album. The colorful clanks and soulful rhythms of this album are plenty for listeners to chew on. --Michael Morgan
Influences: David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Yellow Magic Orchestra/Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tina Turner, Todd Rundgren, Patti Labelle, Hall and Oates, Grace Jones, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Billie Holiday, anything that involves Trevor Horn....