INNERPARTYSYSTEM "NEVER BE CONTENT" - EP REVIEW
Innerpartysystem are a three piece hailing from Pennsylvania, United States. Their unusual sound of infectious dance beats, intertwined with industrial and rock elements really helps separate them apart from other acts. Patrick Nissley (vocals / programming), Jared Piccone (drums / backing vocals) and Kris Barman (guitar / synth / programming) have had a few hectic years since the release of their self-titled debut album in late 2008. With a change in sound, label and even members Never Be Content has been a highly anticipated release for many of their fans including myself.
After the news of Jesse Cronan leaving the band, the changes and alterations proceeded to continue. Parting ways with their previous label, Island Records lead to them signing with Red Bull Records on August 2, 2010. The band have since stated that this six track EP will soon be followed by a full length release later in the year. As their press release states, their sound has changed dramatically, eliminating a rather large portion of the rock and industrial influences to concentrate on the “compelling brand of electronic dance music”. Whilst this may be a shock to many fans, what Innerpartysystem have created is unique and refreshing. If you have the patience to make it through the full 36 minute EP you may just see that their shift in creativity could be about to pay off.
Opening the EP is “And Together”, which begins as an automated group countdown from 10 to 1. It is clear even within the first couple of minutes that the band have been experimenting with a whole new range of sounds, layering and chunking beats and synths accordingly whilst lacking in the lyrics department. Though it becomes somewhat repetitive to the risk of being boring, midway through the electronic madness the track is able to redeem itself. During a synth breakdown the bridge is formed, and although it resembles a fun video game tune, the first sign of actual lyrics “and together we will move” are what keep you captivated until the ending line.
“Money Makes The World Go Round” starts with a fixed set of average beats accompanied by auto-tuned voices simply repeating the title. Personally I felt these voice effects were not needed, and instead make the beginning of the track sound too robotic. The chorus however thankfully delivers a stronger performance, being catchier than I expected and incorporating precise vocals really makes a difference to the atmosphere created. Despite not having that overall wow factor, a steady structure and hearing influences from past releases makes this an average track after all.
This third track, “American Trash” won't be a surprise addition to the EP for most people. Released as a single in May, 2010 “American Trash” was first to show the change in direction that the band had taken musically. As the rock genre fades to make way for their experimental dance music “American Trash”, whilst a little slow to start, provides adequate dance beats and striking synth sounds making it almost impossible not to dance along. Whilst an impressive chorus is prominent, lyrically this song surprised me the most exploring interesting concepts and new ideas about ourselves within society.
Moving on to “Out of Touch”, which is probably the most comparable to their past releases. Whilst sounding somewhat like a dance ballad, the simplicity of this song yet the power it holds is absolutely breathtaking. With the ability to still remain upbeat and incorporate surprises here and there the use of effects is not overdone on this track at all. Perfectly pitched lyrics from Nissley really top off the whole ambience making this my favourite track from the EP. It's absolutely wonderful and will probably possess no problems in getting you to sing and dance along.
The eight and a half minute monster, “Not Getting Any Better” then follows. An expected feature of a song of this length is the overwhelming amount of components that become crammed into one song. “Not Getting Any Better” is also guilty for following this structure, yet the constant changes of pitch and pace, leading to different dynamics really makes for an interesting listen. Whilst the vocals remain smooth for the majority of the track, the dance beats are recognisable but really help create that fun atmosphere making for another brilliant dance track.
Closing the album is “Squid” and whilst oddly named, the track itself provides an interesting concept. At a slower pace, it seems that the tone can go from sinister to somewhat uplifting within a matter of seconds, which is not an easy feeling to recreate. Incorporating intergalactic sounds and sharp vocals this talented trio have once again created another promising song that closes the EP on a final good note.
I think overall, there will be many mixed views about this EP as a whole. As a big fan myself, coming to terms with their change in sound has been a difficult process, yet in retrospect I think it was a brave move that has actually paid off. I would advise those of you who are still unsure, to re-listen to the EP a couple of times as I found myself gaining something new from it after each listen. This EP has the potential to be truly inspiring, so don't shrug it off after one listen.