no:carrier - Wisdom & Failure (Cover Artwork)


Wisdom & Failure (2014)


This spirit of defiance is evident in every element of no:carrier's dark, bombastic synth-pop, laced as it is with theatricality and a determined, brooding melancholy. Split between the West Coast of America and the German city of Ingolstadt on the River Danube, Wirsig and his collaborator Cynthia Wechselberger began life on the same land-mass, but since being separated by geography have employed modern technology to continue making music together.

The band's new album Wisdom & Failure bubbles and swirls with gothic imagery, weaving stories of tragedy, regret, destiny and fear. It's one for fans of Portishead and Depeche Mode, an uncompromising style of music perhaps best summarised as "darkwave" or "electro noire". Tracks such as the Kate Bush-esque "Alone Now" and "Life" showcase a tight pop style and a solid understanding of melody and atmosphere, the fizzy, churning synth arrangements complementing Wechselberger's distinctive, cabaret-tinged voice. Elsewhere, "Last Scene" has an arch, Bond theme, Shirley Bassey charm, and dance track "Let Me Walk Alone" marries an Eighties power ballad vocal with a thumping dancefloor beat.

The album meanders into indulgent story-telling at time, but in truth that may be part of its charm. All things considered, Wisdom & Failure isn't the most musically inventive album you'll hear all year - in fact it's self-consciously retroactive - but what it does, it does with conviction and confidence.