D'eon - Palinopsia

by Rory McKeown Rating:5.5 Release Date:2011-02-06

Canadian synth-pop trooper D'eon explores sprawling 80s-pop soundscapes in debut album Palinopsia but the end product leaves the listener a little deflated. Despite spanning a relatively modest seven songs, Palinopsia weighs in at an overwhelming 44-minutes - more than enough elbow room for the Montreal-based artist in pack in as many electronic sounds - and offers D'eon the platform to vent his spleen on why he thinks this world isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Palinopsia's penultimate joint is called 'Keep the Faith', a bright and whirring electro-pop sizzler that wouldn't find itself out-of-place as a backing track to a Sonic the Hedgehog level on the Sega Mega Drive. But the listener ends up trying to 'keep the faith' following Palinopsia's highlight, the explosive opening track 'Palinopsia Intro + Almost Out of Time'. Gradually emerging from a cocoon of airy synth sounds, D'eon drops a skull-rattling drum loop that instantly contracts the muscles and sets the pulse racing, before splicing fizzling synth stabs and his unusual, and often unstable, vocal style, which at times is similar to Phil Collins standing in to perform an Islamic prayer. '2040', another stand-out, kick-starts with a deluge of buzzing electronics before submerging a thick 80s bassline and more D'eon croons. The dance-infused 'What We Want to Be', although tinny, fits perfectly alongside electro pioneers like Devo and Thomas Dolby, but is let down by over-the-top stained vocal wails.

Palinopsia is not a terrible record and should prove D'eon has more to offer in the future, but his vocal style grates and proves to be a stumbling block when attempting to connect with any of his messages, such as the politically damning 'Recession Proof ($40 Paycheque)' and the scathing 'Kill a Man with a Joystick in Your Hand'. Thankfully, D'eon's affinity with 80s synth-pop shines on Palinopsia and it provides a handful of sense-scrambling moments, yet it's not enough to propel it beyond average status.

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