(Self-Released 2004)Radium88 - Metamorphosis

Radium88's album "Metamorphosis" offers an interesting mix. Its thirteen tracks are mostly smooth instrumentals that range from soft and spacey twinkling to atmospheric dirges that carry you away to another place. Strings sing sweetly in the midst of electronic pulses that beat and remind of coffee percolating, adding texture to the otherwise barren sound-scape.

Rising from nothing like the dramatic soundtrack to an IMAX film exploring the depths of the oceans or the surface of the moon, "The Deep End" anchors the start of the album before the entrance of the soaring operatic style accents of "Metamorphosis" where pulses whiz and the verses are delivered in an eager, impatient whisper. Elsewhere, the gentle pulses of "Before It Disappears" twinkle their secrets softly like an old music box before the eerie emptiness that "Repeat Until True" conveys.

Radium88 allow the keyboards to take the center stage for the soft melody of "Happiness Is My Default Position" and the more traditional sound of "Exile From Planet Eight" which includes a string arrangement in the atmospheric result where electronic beats slowly creep in. Increasing the pace and your pulse, "All That Shines" pumps like dance while "She's All There" is part low groove and part airy space opera. And before ending, a soft and strong melody finally prevails and shines through on the upbeat "Faith and Wonder."

"Metamorphosis" remains consistent throughout, perhaps too much so as it rarely offers any surprises. Never focusing on strong melodies, "Metamorphosis" takes chances by experimenting with what is available and using each ingredient as needed. But Radium88's strength is to be found in their instrumentals which are far superior to the vocal-led tracks that they throw in.


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