Title: Malignant Cove
Release Date: 2015 Mar 14
Genre: Dark Pop
License: CC BY-SA 4.0
Label: Southern City’s Lab / Self Released
adcBicycle: Malignant Cove is the third release from this artist from Ottawa, Canada. These release from adcBicycle are fairly rare, as the three releases so far have spanned about fifteen years. Let’s check out this release in a bit more detail.
adcBicycle: Malignant Cove
On the Southern City’s Lab website this release is described as:
All tracks are about a rocky ocean cove in Nova Scotia, Canada. The album was constructed to be catchy, dark, background music.
Which I believe sells this release short a bit. Certainly it can be listened to as background music, but it holds up remarkably well under a clearly focused listening session too. While this isn’t overtly dramatic statements in this music, it is a release that builds in intensity as one listens to it.
Stylistically, it’s a rather interesting concept. In a respect, the use of drums, guitar and analog keyboards harkens back to a more mid-1970’s to early 1980’s style in terms of the textures, but the musical structures feel more like a post-rock take on that period of music. It’s as if adcBicycle took Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project, Supertramp, and others, deconstructed the elements of their music, and then reassembled those elements into a darker shoe-gaze / emo-like style that fits our modern listening trends.
The affect, overall, is quite amazing. I keep listening to this release, feeling like I am being transported back in time. But then these songs don’t go in the directions I expect of older rock music, and so they keep surprising me and bringing me back time and again.
There is one flaw with this release, and it seems to be a recurring theme with me: processed vocals. All of the vocals on this release are so heavily processed that it is nearly impossible (at least to my ear) to understand the lyrics. However, there are a couple of saving graces here: (1) since adcBicycle (or at least SCL says) seems to have conceptualized this release as a more “background music”, it may be intentional to have the vocals set back in the mix, and heavily processed. In this way the vocals really become more of an instrument, instead of being a vocal point for the songs. Which I can allow a little leeway for. And (2) these aren’t autotune style effects. They are more like the old-style vocoder effects, which add a different texture to the music…which serves to reinforce my earlier thought that the vocals are supposed to be instrumental in nature, and not a focal point of the songs.
adcBicycle: Malignant Cove is a release that is oddly addictive for me. It sounds like deconstructed 70’s / 80’s pop rock whipped into a more emo/shoe-gaze style. These familiar elements keep me coming back to this release, and keep surprising me as these are songs that definitely stand apart of the elements they build on. While I am not a big fan of processed vocals, this release is not as problematic as others since the vocals seem to be more of an extension of the music, instead of being a primary focus. Overall this is a release that I really enjoy, and I know I will be returning to again and again.