By Andréa Rojas
Bleak Anthems, the first full-length album from Edmonton’s electro indie pop ensemble Cygnets, is kind of like a dizzying amusement park ride — fun the first couple times but pretty soon you want off. The synth-driven melodies immediately summon up comparisons to new wave acts like Depeche Mode and the Cure, whereas the warbling, periodically off-key vocals evoke a low-budget Morissey.
The record’s opening track “Hey Alexandra!” is catchy yet unremarkable, and by track two, the melodramatic and overtaxed vocals hiding under a blanket of overdone echo effect and distortion become impossible to ignore.
Thankfully, the second half of the disc brings some auditory respite. Regrettably, unpolished vocals mar “Amnesia” and “The Dawning Age,” but on these tracks, the listener is finally able to appreciate the band’s endeavors to make every track as distinctive as possible.
Fans of New Wave, Metric and Crystal Castles will find this worth a head bop or two on a Friday night, but when the dust clears by Sunday morning, you’ll surely be looking for something a little less bleak.