After winning favor with critics on a number of singles, New York musician Les Techno has dropped his debut album, Flowers For Dystopia. The record is an edgy, often cynical, often satirical look at the world we live in today and mixes sounds new and old to bring a sound at once familiar and fresh. Imagine guitar rock, but in a nontraditional way. There are flourishes here and there, but also dissonant stabs over melodic keyboards. Add in some hip-hop rhythms and a healthy dose of 1980s keyboards and one might have a good idea of what Flowers sounds like.
The album leads off with the title track, and one can't help but immediately notice the killer funk groove. Wah-drenched guitars back an edgy, monotonous vocal that recalls Bowie in places. A gritty "Eye On You" follows and showcases a bluesy acoustic guitar over a strong groove with electric guitar washes here and there. It's sound matches its subject matter, describing a state of surveillance.
A billionaire flies to Mars in a rocket to escape the planet on "What Ya Done," a track that features distorted guitars over a melodic chorus and keyboards, One could imagine INXS doing this track. Similarly dystopian in feel is "Edge Of The World," a song about a party at the edge of the world with some fairly biting lyrics. Manic keyboards and distorted guitars swimming in echo dance together on this killer number.
The melodic and the dissonant meet over the danceable "Is It Real," where Techno once again channels his inner Bowie, while a driving rhythm and strong vocal highlight "Guilty Pleasure." Techno, who plays all the instruments, makes use of the space in the track, both here and throughout the album allowing room for the instruments to breathe and never overcrowding the songs with unnecessary notes.Techno does cut loose a bit on album closer, "Song Of The Materials," showing off some fine lead guitar, along with a killer groove and a gritty vocal.
Fans of 80s music will want to check this album out. Flowers For Dystopia is no throwback though. While there are certainly traces of 80s synth pop and post punk here, with a healthy amount of guitar and hip-hop influence, the sound is something new entirely. Les Techno has crafted a winner with Flowers For Dystopia.