Bluetoxin - "Written In Code"
(Ichnite Media 2004)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: July 2004

On Written in Code, Bluetoxin cobble together fragments of so many different musical styles that it’s difficult to accurately categorize any genre in which to place them. Ironically, this stylistic amorphousness is both the group’s greatest strength and its most debilitating weakness. Throughout the eleven songs on Written in Code, one can hear nods to contemporary electronica (Massive Attack, for instance), 80s New Wave (especially Duran Duran and Depeche Mode), snatches of 90s alternative rock, and even good old-fashioned pop music that resists all temporal constraints. The arrangements are all quite well done, with a generous supply of hooks, breaks and vocal harmonies, particularly on the more up-tempo songs such as “Push You Away” and “This Is a War.”

On the other hand, the group has its esoteric moments, too. Songs like “All the Ants” and “Numbers” feature dense, melodic keyboard arrangements and angular guitar rhythms that remind one of Simple Minds and Magazine at their avant-punk best. The machine-like synth grooves of these songs, as well as several others, place Bluetoxin in the rarefied atmospheres of post-punk dream wave where they show a definite flare for nouveau romantic melodrama—elegant yet visceral enough to make you want to get up and dance. The pieces that show a too marked influence of house and ambient textures (“Too Late Somehow” and “Binary,” for instance) are the least effective songs on Written in Code. The group, however, does occasionally venture into exotic, Japan-influenced territory, especially on “I am Tame”; its dreamy Fender Rhodes and gurgling synthetic backdrop create the perfect mise en scene for jaded technocrats and the jetset of the third millennium. Palatable and easily enjoyable, Written in Code benefits immensely from a firm though transparent production hand, and there’s every reason to believe that on future releases Bluetoxin will transcend the sum of its influences.

For more information you can visit the Bluetoxin web site at:
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Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree

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