Victor Sierra – Album Review
Arabesque, haunting, throaty and filled with European duende, Paris-based Victor Sierra’s album “Electric Rain” is perfect for Steampunks who want a less England-central experience. With lyrics in French, German, Yiddish, and English, Victor Sierra’s Anouk Adrien, Bob Eisenstein and Big Machine offer international flavor and haunting melodies mixed with a driving, relentless rhythm that pushes the listener along the train tracks of the album.
Victor Sierra provides an album that is the epitome of what the Steampunk aesthetic is all about – craftsmanship, cultural mixing, passion, raw feeling, cryptic theatricality, pride in your creation, and just a dash of cheeky social anarchy.
Bob Eisenstein, credited with playing all the instruments on the album, has a natural flair for making them scream a little bit. There’s something that he does with the compositions that is just uncomfortable enough that it makes the music intriguing, makes you want to writhe on a dance floor, but not so much that it becomes grating. Big Machine’s synth work is seamless, and evocative of the Hydrogen Queen, the band’s airbound berth. For someone who doesn’t really like ‘fake’ instruments in her music, I quite enjoyed everything about the production. That’s a mark of a true artist with a synth and the electronic arts of creating sound.
And what could easily become a slide into gratuitous and overly sensual vocals is instead punctuated by Anouk Adrien’s more raw, natural and not overly-trained, gripping vocal quality. I’m reminded, happily, of the folksy, desperate singing of Louis Attaque.
This driving, human sound is, to me, the equintessence of Steampunk music.
Even better, I love the cultural mélange of the lyrics. Some French, a dash of Yiddish, a swirl of German, references to Commonwealths and sheesha-smoking caterpillars (“Keep your head!”) – this is what Steampunk is.
Borderless, bold, and blended.
As a story-oriented person, my favourite track is by far #3, “Blood In The Skies”, a song about a tenuously obeying flight crew on a mission that they know nothing about. But the story of the album extends past the CD/MP3s – be certain to check out their myriad of videos, including the suitably cryptic “Self-Portraits” of the band members.
I look forward to seeing this band live – the music lends itself beautifully to belly dancers, pyrotechnics, burlesque, and over-the-top performativity and I salivate at the thought of what their stage show must be like.
And I freely admit that I’ve been listening to the full album on endless loop for the past two weeks, especially while I’ve been editing my next novel.