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Ivory Frequency

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Album Review

Greece is not known for issuing a huge staple of EBM artists, but Ivory Frequency's debut release suggests that it has been worth the wait. Plug-In dodges the usual aesthetic of synth pop and electro, but takes elements of both to channel an energetically fresh sound.

Ivory Frequency have done the homework and pulled together a style that is distinctly their own from the beginning. Strong synth sounds and dance structures flirt with the trance-industrial groups such as Implant, but answer the call of a harder electro voice. Almost every track on Plug-In seems designed to move the body and little else, and Ivory Frequency hit the mark squarely each time. "The Strangest Callings" has all the build-up of rave techno, uncompromised by the unexpected mix with vocals and a solid EBM sensibility. This understanding of different forms of electronic music, and Ivory Frequency's ability to wield the devices of each interchangeably are what mark each of Plug-In's successes. The same talent fuels the single track, "Today," which layers unconfused techno methods and a harsh bass synth to create a punch-between-the-shoulders electro beat that is as hard to forget in headphones as it is to ignore on the dancefloor.

Plug-In does it all well, but there is no question that the beatier tracks are the highlights. Less dance-focused tracks, such as "Beasts and Demons," use the same methods to achieve a more reflective and emotional set, but they are easily overshadowed by the more energetic moments. Where synth pop bands can rely on their bittersweet storytelling, and harder electro can rely on constrained aggression in their quieter tracks, Ivory Frequency have chosen to rely solely on the purity of their synth sound. The method may not work quite as well as it does on the dance tracks, but it is a small price to pay for a debut that is consistent and refuses to sound cloned.

That said, there is no wasted time on Plug-In; each track is worthwhile. This is a signature debut from a band that has a distinct sound which looks like it can only grow in power. Invest a few listens to find its wavelength, and you will be rewarded.

Plug-In, Ivory Frequency
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