Music Review: Electric Rain

Label: Sierra Data Studio
Reviewed by William H. Rose, III

2245296858-1One of my great joys in life is discovering exceptional, new, alternative music that moves me. Especially compositions that fill a void, become a part of me, or contain their own unique signature. In my ever-expanding exploration for innovative music I look for sounds that reside outside the monotonous “heard-that” drone of Rock n’ Roll or that exist beyond the boundaries of generic top-40 radio. Electric Rain, the third album by Paris-based Victor Sierra, is just such an eclectic, international mixture of ethereal sounds.

The band features Bob Eisenstein on strings, Anouk Adrien on vocals, and Big Machine on keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines. Victor Sierra is an alternative trio that blends aspects of punk, industrial-orchestration, and minimalist-electronic influences with Steampunk zest. The lyrics, both original and poetic, could easily be crafted into Steampunk stories, especially The Road Not Taken, Blood in the Skies, and Bridge To Nowhere. The melodies are rhythmic and loaded with swirling, sober and mysterious keyboards, industrial percussion, airy, diverse guitars, and stunning vocal harmonies.

El Topo, perhaps titled after the bizarre Alejandro Jodorowsky western of the same name, brings to mind the sounds of the desert with the swirling miasma of Eisenstein’s strings and Anouk Adrien’s haunting vocals. The Road Not Taken (see Robert Frost but with teeth) is a hard driving, beautiful, steam-powered song with undercurrents of a locomotive standing in for the rhythm section and an otherworldly and memorable hook. Blood in the Skies begins with an industrial, machine-driven drum-beat and an evocative guitar intro and is one of my favorites. Other memorable songs include White Rabbit, a Jefferson Airplane cover, and Scratch My Door, which features excellent guitar work both electric and acoustic and a keyboard pan-flute you’ll find hard to resist.

The only negative thing I might say about the album is that three of the songs are sung in languages that I don’t understand, but that’s my shortcoming not the bands. The addition of an accomplished bass player might help expand their sound, but that’s a very minor flaw. Victor Sierra employs an industrial, Steam-powered sound that grows on you and the more I listened to the album the more enjoyable I found it.

When asked to provide biographical background front-man Bob Eisenstein replied:

Enter Victor Sierra’s universe…

Victor Sierra is named after the cryptic alphabet of the legendary Flying Dutchman. Bob Eisenstein is the commander of the airship Hydrogen Queen and enjoys questions answering questions, bourbon whisky, unsolvable equations, and musical instruments. He knows several languages both dead and alive, doesn’t like to be disturbed when flying high in currents of inspiration, and likes to convert improbable ideas into impossible visions. Anouk Adrien is somewhat of a legendary converted princess ever moving across the road not taken. She loves poetry of the living past, enjoys rum, and the sound of distorted guitars. She sew clothes with the stuff steam is made of and wears Chinese Red lipstick. Big Machine powers the Hydrogen Queen, is man-machine constructed from parts of unknown origin, and is a long-time member of the Difference Engine league. He enjoys analogical lullabies, coffee as black as night, and can read the future and the past in any available time anomaly.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Electric Rain is the band’s 3rd album and was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Sierra Data Studio. Release date: 29 November 2011.

4 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

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