Genre: Trip Hop Rock
01 A Ticket to Death
02 Marvellous Pills
04 Lilly White
06 Inside and Beyond
07 Exhibition Room
+ Bonus Video for "A Ticket to Death"
Wow, this was an incredibly welcome surprise. Normally here at Heathen Harvest, I am the metal guy, so that's 99% of what I get from Malahki for review purposes. Here we have a Trip Hop Rock band out of France. I have indeed been a huge fan of any trip hop that I come across ever since my ex turned me onto the genre with Portishead a while back. I saved this release for last out of the batch of releases I received because, well, it's just that damn good. Misstrip's 'Sibylline', for being a debut release, is incredibly crisp, and has nearly none of the rookie mistakes that almost all bands make. The songs are written incredibly well, and this band is exactly what the mainstream needs. Not to say Trip Hop should be a mainstream source for music, but they get away from the crazy beats enough to be embraced by the mass waiting for something like this to come out. It's about time something with a good beat comes around that isn't about Shakin' ya ass or taking ecstasy...techno and its annoying bass...ravers never fail to amuse me.
When I say Trip Hop, I know everyone is going to think of Portishead right away. This is not the case with Misstrip. There is much less experimental approach with this band than Portishead, and much less jazzy. Think more along the lines of combining some very groove-oriented nu-metal with trip hop, and you should have the right idea of things. With a female vocalist, of course. The vocalist herself sounds to be a unique combination of Beth Gibbons and Sue Hutton of Rhea's Obsession. For those not aware of Rhea's Obsession, they are a darkwave/world/goth band from Canada who fuse indian-like vocals into their unique style. They are absolutely incredible in their own right as well.
My favorite song on this album has to be Mothers-of-pearl, hands down. While the entire album flows really well, and is incredibly beautiful and expressive, Mothers-of-pearl just has a really great feel to it. It's almost like being on one of those airport escalators. You're just kind of coasting through, everything is flowing really well and you're just kind of staring off into space as it takes you further to your destination. This song really reminds me of the newer works that we've been hearing out of Yoko Kanno, particularly the opening them to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Incredibly beautiful with its own sense of attitude.
I just find it really weird how France continues to absolutely blow me away with nearly every release they offer. It really doesn't matter what genre it is, everything I hear ends up being top of the line and uncannily talented. Most people who are into black metal would agree that France has the best scene, same with brutal death metal and grind. Spain has a really good scene there too though. Is there some crazy kind of government experiment going on in the background with musicians that no one knows about? It really is starting to seem that way. All of these musicians seem to be machines made for writing this incredible music.
The only real complaint that I have is that there weren't really any crazy songs in this album. Most of them were pretty straight forward, as good as they were, and it didn't seem that they strolled away from the line that they walked very much. I really hope that they try to pull some interesting percussion lines into their music in the next album. They've be a very welcome addition to the small community of good Trip Hop artists, and the more they embrace experimentation in their music, the more popular they should because. It will get them attention, and pull them away from the crowd. Not to say they're like Blink 182 mainstream or anything, but they could definitely stand to have SOMETHING completely out of the blue or crazy put in their music. They've got the heavy/soft flow going great, as well as all of the background noises (and whoever you are, guy, you're a fucking genius with the noises that you put in there and the timing is fantastic!).
As far as the bonus video goes, the camera work was top notch, but you could tell the budget wasn't exactly super huge. Just another band in the dark jumping around an empty warehouse video. The band itself really reminds me of A Perfect Circle during the Judith era. The only thing that takes away from them in the video, and perhaps live, is the vocalist's jumping around. It's great that she's into the music and all, but it takes away from the attractiveness of the music. If she just slowed her body down and felt it in a more moving sense, rather than peppy rock sense, (what Anneke van Giersbergen does from The Gathering, for example), she'd probably have men in the palms of her hand out in the crowd.