Goodbye Cruel World…

Soldier’s Heart

Night By Night

Self-Released, 2016

Review by Kent ManthieSoldier's Heart cover                      

This new CD from Belgian “psychedelic dreampop” quintet, Soldier’s Heart, entitled, Night By Night and which was, for them, a self-released labor of love.

Formed four years ago, in Antwerp, Belgium, Soldier’s Heart has managed to win over the hearts and minds of those of “L’Alternative Belgique”, with the heavy electronics on Night By Night, which, besides having a few great, lush, dreampop tunes in the beginning, suddenly moves to a more upbeat, danceable “Randy”, but which is followed by the haunting, dark, sensual groove of the title track.  Like “Randy”, “Night by Night” seems to feature more of front-vocalist, Sylvie Kreusch.

One aspect of trying to give to their music, an “edge” has been to mix together well, without too much overt juxtaposition, the old and the new, when it comes to various recording processes and instrumentation. That description also can apply to some of the differences that pop up here and there, with the styles the various songs seem to reflect, as in a few of its references to 90s pop sounds. From the interesting Verlaine-ish “Lola Remnt” to the flaming 90s pop-song beginning of “Savage”, which actually is a pretty decent song in its own right, it just seems to be coming from somewhere else, that’s the easiest way I can think to put in. The two “Interludes” in here also have quite an interesting aspect: they seem to be perfect interludes, indeed; bridges, if you will, between one part of the record and another and, since, on Night By Night has two interludes, well, does that mean they’re consciously separating, that is, do they mean each set of 5, 2 and then , 3, songs? Does each “set” contain a certain thread which the 2 interludes are there to separate? Hmm…could be.

Anyway, into what is maybe the “third part”, aka, after the 2nd “Interlude”, the song “African Fire” is quite catchy and quite riveting in its rhythmic pulses and the smooth, underlying foundation. Then, after that, the more “old school”-influenced, “Divine”, which has some elements of the black-female singer disco thing happening back in the 70s, with Sylvie’s great, expansive vocal range, which also has a terrific, spellbinding effect, overall.

It definitely appeals, in one aspect because of the way that, at least, two styles of club-centric music on it and for its wonderfully androgynous looks and attitudes.

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