Future Bible Heroes

Lonely Days

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Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson of the Magnetic Fields collaborate with synth maestro Christopher Ewen as Future Bible Heroes to create pleasant electronic sounds, in what might be called a diary of loneliness, on this five-song EP, Lonely Days. The EP is a mixed bag. "Lonely Days," taken from the band's Memories of Love album, sees Claudia Gonson handling vocal duties over music that sounds more than a bit like Depeche Mode as produced by Phil Spector. It's a rainy day song with a sound that's deceptively happy and ornate. It's hard to tell how the music was created, but one would imagine that a roomful of keyboards was employed. "Hopeless" has also made appearances in the past, appearing in various guises on Memories of Love, the I'm Lonely (And I Love It) EP, and the excellent indie compilation Red Hot + Bothered. On this version, Merritt exudes dollops of indifference, as pianos and electronic effects crisscross in bright, energetic Euro-pop fashion. "Love Is Blue" is a goofy, but mildly fun, reworking of the oft-covered Andre Popp song; Gonson sounds a little too bored and things get a bit too cheesy for the song to work as intended. "How to Get Laid in Japanese" features a loungey turn from Merritt, singing apparently in Japanese, over music and sound effects that suggest a lounge band in a hotel, albeit a very good lounge band. It's hard to tell if Merritt is being suggestive, but it appears that he's choosing foreign words that sound like crude English words related to anatomy. The song is ironic and interesting, but it comes off as more of joke than anything else. "Berlin on $10 a Day" is credited solely to Christopher Ewen. It's an amazingly evocative instrumental full of beautiful, sweeping synth sounds. At just over three minutes, it's only problem is that it's too short. It would seem that Ewen could quite easily have a solo career on the level of µ-ziq or B. Fleischmann, judging by the icy sorrows displayed in "Berlin on $10 a Day." Due to it's eclectic nature, Lonely Days doesn't necessarily make for a cohesive listen. Since the two best songs, in the Merritt tradition, have appeared elsewhere, the EP might be best left to fanatics.

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