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Monday, September 06 2010 00:00

THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE - PINS & NEEDLES (Archive Album Review)

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birthday massacreCanadian Synth-rockers THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE are back for a fourth round with PINS & NEEDLES (out September 14th via Metropolis Records). Finding just the right balance between the heavy rock guitars and keyboard-driven grooves, if the band had emerged in the late 80's to mid-90's, they'd likely have been lumped somewhere into the vast "industrial" realm.

Instead, THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE was first revealed just over a decade ago, and has evolved into a force that creates a vivid soundscape that sounds ahead of it's time, yet comfortingly (and hauntingly) familiar.

51RGDmblSuL. SL500 AA300 Amidst the dark imagery of a twisted fairytale that comprises the album artwork and the first video from the album - "In the Dark" (co-helmed by RUE MORGUE magazine founder Rodrigo Gudino and TBM's Mike Falcore), there's a sinister beauty that is present throughout the 11-song set.


While the album opener (the aforementioned "In the Dark") hits hard with it's beefy guitars and floating choruses, the track is soon eclipsed by nearly everything that follows. "Always," "Pale," and "Control" are perfect dark-pop songs.

"Shallow Grave" marks the high point of the album, with TBM falling into their element with a track that will likely become known as one of their signature songs. Firing on all cylinders, every aspect of the band's sound reaches perfection here.

TBM Chibi1As PINS & NEEDLES continues, it's hard not to hear a bit of early MADONNA in CHIBI's voice - another tip of the hat to the 1980's, firmly injected into what is certainly a talent to watch.

Not to spend their load completely in the first half of the album, both "Two Hearts" and "Sleepwalking" find themselves tucked safely near the back of the album, ready to assault you with their guitar blasts, and get your ass moving to the danceable groove as well.

When a band moves beyond the standard guitar/bass/drums configuration, there can be a tendency for the mix to get out of whack, and fortunately you won't find any of that here. The entire album is well-produced, and the entire band is given ample space to shine.

If the kids in THE BREAKFAST CLUB had been pulled into the dark side, their soundtrack would be THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE.

4
Rating: 4/5 Stars

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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