Present Paradox defines itself as an art-rock electronica band. They’re from the independent city of Dortmund, and have recently put out a new EP called My Map. These guys have put out quite a bit of music, so let’s dig into this working band’s latest release.
It starts with a bass riff… Oh… No… This one’s going to be hard to write. Guys, gals, jungs… I want you all to know that it’s really, really hard for me to criticize other people’s work. I have put out sup-par, demo-sounding material that I know could sound better and am constantly pushing myself to do better when it comes to the music I release. At the end of the day, this review is simply an opinion amongst many. Please help enlighten me if you find that I am missing the point. To me, bass is crucial. It’s the glue in the band, the instrument that pushes the most air, and the one you physically feel when you’re at a show. On “Last Hello,” the opening bass riff on this EP sounds like it’s not played on time, and sadly it also sounds sloppily executed. Then a drum loop starts playing, closely followed by a repetitive, simple guitar riff and out-of-tune, nasal vocals that lack good delivery. There’s also a very high-pitched glockenspiel loop that started giving me ear fatigue near the end of the song.
Es tut mir leid, das zu schreiben. Als Journalist und Musiker, ist es meine Pflicht, mit Ihnen ehrlich zu sein.**
Their second song “Maybe or Maybe Not” began with a square-waved synth, joined by a drum loop. The chord pattern heard in the first fifteen seconds of the song is repeated throughout the track as the vocalist talks through the verses. There are a few vocal harmonies thrown in at times, but the constant square-waved synth droning on the same four chords bored me. Next was “Drop Me A Line,” a tune that showcased a drum loop and eerie-sounding vocals drenched in reverberation. Sadly, out-of-tune vocals and more repetitive synth parts killed this track for me. I can see what these guys are aiming for: psychedelic, hypnosis-inducing jams that could transport you to a deeper level of consciousness. I can say the production on this track isn’t bad, I just find the music to be boring and devoid of emotion. “Put Me Back” sadly sounded a lot like what I heard in the previous three tracks. Next was “Nasty Malfunction,” which had great sounding guitar tones and an overall feel that reminded me of the beginning of a Marilyn Manson song. The vocals also sounded better on this one – they seemed to be going for a robotic feel, joined by ethereal synths swirling overhead. The last track was the namesake of the album. I held onto hope for this one, being the title track and all, but was left with more of the same. There was however a synth and guitar solo near the end which kept my attention.
This EP wasn’t for me. If you like droning, impassive loops, check this one out. Es tut mir leid.
**Translation: I am sorry to write this. As a journalist and musician, it is my duty to be honest with you.
Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Kate Erickson