Defiance + Entropy the debut album, from synth trio Mark Bebb, Keith Trigwell and Rob Dust emerges from the ever-evolving but never-ending electronic stronghold of “Electronica” to provide us with a serious but yet uplifting body of work that one could be forgiven into thinking that this wasn’t a débutantes album but an elder statesman in the genre’s work.
None of the multinational personnel are newbies to the music scene though, with the Welsh native Bebb being the front man (Lyricist/co-writing) of pop band Shelter who released 2014’s sprightly, iPop featuring Erasures Andy Bell, and are preparing for a support slot with 80’s icons ‘The Human League’ throughout their European Tour, England’s Keith Trigwell (co-writing, Synths) who is well know throughout fan circles as one of the main protagonists in the mega-successful Depeche Mode tribute band “Speak and Spell” and German production specialist Rob Dust (Synths/Production) known for his intricate remix prowess.
Defiance + Entropy is 18 months of intense work which was finished and produced by Pete Maher (U2, Noel Gallagher and Rolling Stones fame). Initiating the project is Prelude 47 an instrumental, with its atmospheric tinklings, and dark bass that sinisterly draws like something from the original Terminator Score with its grumbling forward momentum before slowing to a gradual halt in advance of the aggressive Override that takes over with its high pitched vocals and strong electronics showcasing the power of this album at a very early stage. Poison the first single released from Defiance + Entropy on October 12th with its ‘Todd Terry (Royal House) – Can you Party’ sirened intro, is a bit of a stomper not unlike “Meshs” “Born To Lie”. The production is crisp throughout this track and complements the Vocoded vocals. Surrender features soft introductory keys with melancholic echoing beats. A dark track in minor keys featuring simple complimentary electronics Hiatus emerges like a Depeche Mode Violator-esque interlude in all its instrumental glory before the sinister-sounding Enough enters the fray with its “Flock of Seagulls “ sounding vocal complete with warped synths.
Stranded follows and is immediately identified as a standout track with what can only be described as fantastic production, with epic strings, deep beats and an extremely intense sound. If comparisons had to be drawn this sounds like an IAMX vocal and Bebb pulls the Chris Corner sound out of the bag wonderfully as this really is the highlight vocally and the production is sublime. Sugar is up next with its fast-paced 80’s sound followed by Parenthis which bridges the lyrical gap with its brooding piano intro, eerie synth pads and deep electro bass. Next up is the mid-paced Lies with its patterned electronics featuring a sinister downward chord twist to the general run of the track but nevertheless staying emotive and brilliantly showcasing Bebb’s vocal versatility.
Fire sounds a tad Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and its follow-on track Everlasting commences within the pop genre, nice simple vocals although nothing overly groundbreaking, albeit a really catchy composition. Another sombre Industrial Synthed punchy beaten instrumental ensues in the form of Pariah in the lead up to the brilliant Addict which is upbeat electropop featuring heartfelt vocals, energy in abundance and retro synths. Infinity the penultimate track is slow to mid-tempo affair featuring ambient sounds, cascading synths and Bebb at his emotional best. Synapse draws a curtain to Defiance + Entropy with the industrial electronics and repetitive words akin to ‘In My Room’ by Yazoo minus The Lords Prayer.
Comparisons can and will be drawn from bands such as Depeche Mode, Erasure, Mesh, IAMX and most of the other Electronic bands around at the moment but that doesn’t take away the fact that FORM can play many a hand in the field of electronic music, Industrial, Pop and straightforward electro dirge which most bands don’t seem to want to encompass due to cross-genre contamination. Mixed with Mark Bebbs versatility on the lyrical platform , not by range but by style, Trigwell and Dust’s navigation of synthetic hardware , melody structure and production necromancy, FORM have the capability to really push the electronic style back towards the mainstream with traditional talent, equipment proficiency and general showing of good old hard work.