Black Sunday - Tronic Blanc (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Black Sunday

Tronic Blanc (2005)


In the 2004 horror movie "Saw," the opening scene finds the two main characters in a run-down, grimy, dark and damp room. Tronic Blanc, the debut effort of Black Sunday, featuring Lost Sounds' Alicja Trout at the helm, sounds very much like it was recorded and performed on that very same set. Giving off a desolate, mechanical feel, the band slides through thirteen songs, divided between a dissonant punk flare, and moody, keyboard-driven efforts.

Trout's lyrics represent the numbing, mechanical feel just as well as the programmed beats and rigid, electronic guitars. Her robotic delivery in "This Heart is Now Aluminum" manages to inject just the amount of bounce that it needs, and contrast the thick sounds of those guitars while subtly asking "don't ya know, this heart is now aluminum?" It's an interesting combination for sure, but strangely compelling at the whole time, a description that most of this album can be thrown in. The flow is unique, pitting the morose, desperate vocal approach of tracks like "Little Bird" against the brisk sounds of "You're Gonna See Me." No matter the approach of a particular song, or any speed it may carry, things always return to that bleak, damp feel of the room in which it started. It's something that can't be shaking, regardless of any variation put through these songs. It often works in the band's favor, most notably on the closer, "Mosquitoes."

The savvy in Trout's delivery and presentation really is what pulls this release together, and while it may not be groundbreaking in any sense of the word, the meshing of styles not only as a whole, but with each individual instrument, makes this a great listen. Her ability to combine mood and power offers an interesting take, one that's definitely worthy of attention. A mixing of new wave grooves and post-punk dissonance would do that very easily, though. The points in which most bands lose sight of how to integrate keyboards are the exact moments that Black Sunday excel, using their punk leanings to accentuate what could be taking a sharp turn towards redundancy. Somewhere throughout these songs, the cold feel of things warm up a bit, with Alicja's voice leading the way out of the cold musk and sounds of metal clanking.

It's not an easy album to describe as a whole, but it's one that warrants a listen or two.