Friday, December 21, 2007

Close To Euphoria

Collide – Live at the El Ray

A friend once remarked to me that while he really liked Placebo's albums, he felt that they didn't generate quite the energy that the songs required on record and that it would be much better to see them live. I agreed but as it turned out, Placebo are a terrible live band with even more lacklustre on stage than on their albums. Collide's albums have always given me a similar feeling of unfulfilled potential so it's not much of a surprise that Collide's live album is disappointingly tepid.

Collide's albums Chasing the Ghost and Some Kind of Strange are very good but they always leave me feeling that despite the musical talent displayed, there's some subtle failure to make the deep emotional connection that defines great music. I hoped that in a live performance they might remedy that deficiency but once again I must sadly note that in fact, performing live only exacerbates the problem.

There's a lot of good things about Live at the El Ray mind. The setlist is a nice greatest hits collection, and they've very skilfully arranged the purely electronic, industrial songs for an analogue rock band format. However maybe it's because the backing electronics enslave them to a click, or maybe it's because vocalist Karin (I refuse to type the cutesy industrial alternate caps spelling) sounds as though she's either extraordinarily nervous or high as a kite, there's definitely a lot lacking in the performance department, and this is a pity because they're so close to being truly great, and maybe all it would take to get them there is just a bit less stiffness.

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