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VNV Nation, Transnational (Anachron Records)




VNV Nation, Transnational (Anachron Records)


11/21/13
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



 I wasn’t expecting much from neo-synthpop vanguards VNV Nation this time out. Not that I’m not a fan; they’re deeply inspiring when they spend 10 seconds writing a song, and I’ll never forget seeing them at Axis in Boston when the air-conditioning broke down during a 100-degree heat wave and singer Ronan Harris kidded around about it (he’s a pretty funny guy for an Irish IT nerd). But since 2005, when their criminally under-noticed Matter + Form failed to jack them into the superstar-sphere, they’ve appeared content to churn out formulaic stuff (granted, yes, it’s their own formula) for the too-mature-for-goth crowd, stuff that’s struck me as being nothing more than workaday knockoffs of their 2002 LP Futureperfect, which wasn’t bad but wasn’t great either. Other than a few minor sound tweaks, Transnational has the same Roland-synth bells and whistles as the duo’s last few LPs. There’s the fist-pumping positive-message-rocker (“Everything”), the daddy-issues EBM grinder (“Primary”) and the monk-choir pan-religious soaring-through-the-clouds instrumental chillout (“Lost Horizon”). We’ve been here before.  I almost wish they’d just re-release their older albums prior to going on tour in order to save new fans from this ongoing disappointment. B- — Eric W. Saeger






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