steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Mike Allen

"Cirrhotic" CD

SunSeaSky Productions

Genres: IDM, epic rock

307 West Lake Dr.
Random Lake, WI 53075 USA

May 10 - 16 2004

From the Cirrhotic press release:

"Cirrhotic: A term used to describe a severely damaged liver usually in the case of alcoholism. None of the things discussed lyrically will leave you smiling nor the overall mood and ambience of the sound. The homegrown feeling can be felt in almost all the tracks. It expresses feelings of complete hopelessness in a world that is rapidly going to hell and the dark places your mind can take you when dealing with those feelings and the people that think they can ease that pain with arrogance and their own neatly packaged version of right and wrong."

Katrina & the Waves this is not.  Cirrhotic's thirteen songs run the gamut from IDM to acoustic pop to epic rock, though not once do they offer anything but downers and upsetting introspections.  The result is dark, eerie, and surprisingly listenable.  Though this disc can be tiresome and dull at times, there is plenty of really solid material here that makes up for the occasional lapses into mediocrity.

Mike Allen is at his best when he is working with a pop-based approach.  However, this is not always the case - "Cirrhosis" offers up plain, almost industrial-influenced IDM - which is fine, but it won't push Allen above the competition.  So many electronica artists have already done this type of thing before, and many have done it better.  "Professional Responder" and "Scientism" show what Allen should always be making - melodic, dark pop arrangements, heavy on atmosphere and melody.  Sometimes, as is the case on "Cells and Souls" and "The Mother Degenerative," Allen relies too much on atmosphere, and the melodies are boring and ineffective.  With this type of release, a diverse selection of pop hooks needs to be employed, or else the music can become tiresome.

Cirrhotic is a listenable, though scattered album.  Approach with caution; this disc may have an impressively gloomy texture, but this doesn't make up for a lack of accessibility in some of its less enjoyable tunes.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]