Assemblage 23 / Endure [Deluxe Edition]

Endure (Deluxe Edition)

Assemblage 23 is an electronic act from the United States, currently based in Seattle. It was founded in 1988 by Tom Shear who writes the music and lyrics and does the recording himself.

Endure is the 8th studio offering from the band.

The Analysis—-

Endure—-Beginning with a slight static, it is not long before the familiar strains of Tom Shear’s style emerge from the dark. The wait for this release only adds to the smile upon my face. The galloping synth is a welcome strain to my ears….it is nice to have this back in my ears.This opening instrumental track is only a promise of the things to come.

Afterglow—-Beginning almost like an Erasure track, the entrance of Shear’s hollow yet emotive vocal cast that aside. There is a sadness and pain…a loneliness….a longing for something we are not privy to. This is a wonderful opening single for the release.

Bravery—-Dark and melodious at the onset, the synth enters and brings a light to the track. The pace of the song is incredible…the galloping feel of the drum machine is fantastic. Tom tells tales that leave me feeling empty and sad…yet somehow happy and joyful at the same time…it is this contradiction that works so well for this style and sound. There is a brightness yet incredible darkness….leaving you with mixed feelings and to quote Tom…..introspection. I think this song is about addiction?

Salt The Earth—-Another galloping fast track, this has more of a heavier industrial sound than any songs thus far. Enclosed we seem to have another tale of struggle and hurt…challenges and failures. The synth has a much meatier sound to it…but under it all is that fast tempo ed feel that Tom is famous for these days. I love…..the idea of setting the clock back to zero and beginning again….I wish I could do just that.

Static—-With a sad, forlorn and heavy intro, the bass kicks in and the songs takes on an even darker edge. This lacks the speedy synth of previous songs…but instead offers an underlying melody that is almost addictive. The words are fraught with challenges of life and difficulties…but still does not leave me sad……how many songs contain the words ‘cognitive dissonance’….lol.

Call The Dawn—-With a synth line reminiscent of the Tom of the 90’s, this is catchy…..until the dead vocal pops up. This is a pretty heavy track for me….the entire release is not a happy tale. I sense something going on in his life….but it was not shared with me…lol. I love the new music though…even if it is much darker and heavy. The sun always comes back out and I think we will see the more upbeat Tom sometime in the future. I love his voice by the way…he needs no effects or manipulations…it is pure and heartfelt.

Butterfly Effect—-Stripped down and without tons of effects at the onset, we get just the voice. The synth begins and the track becomes alive and more energetic. The swirls and the sharp whips of sound are incredible…even if the vocal tale is a bit darker. The emotive lyrics almost paint a picture in your brain….you are able to actually feel what he is singing….remarkable!

Barren—-Very dark with the first few notes…but a brightness emerges and dunks your head under water as the track becomes alive….fast paced and full of energy. The speed that the music moves is remarkable and how Tom manages to match his vocal to the entire thing is an art. This is NOT a happy song….but the music makes you feel almost schizophrenic….should you cry or dance. Fuck it…!

Grid—-Now this at the onset reminds me of classic Depeche Mode!!! But as usual, Tom adds his signature sound and reminds us whom we are listening to. With slight vocal manipulations, tempo changes and an unending galloping synth line, this is classic Assemblage. One of my favorite tracks from this release.

December—-With another intro that has an Erasure throwback sound….it does not last for long. The foot stomping bass makes the song huge….the swirls of the synth and the fast pace makes it yet another stand out track. The vocal is classic…..the tale not happy…yet not entirely sad. I love the contradiction….and the sentiment….because when December ends…we begin anew……hmmmm.

[Bonus Content]

Afterglow [Rain Within Mix]—-Now this really has an Erasure feel to it…..the swirls are incredible. I wish the vocal was left pure…but there is some manipulation and the remixers push it to the back of the song a bit too much for my taste. I love the purity of Tom’s voice and I wish they would have left it alone. Not that much different though. Just a bit more synth driven.

Bravery [Interface Mix]—-Very bass heavy and moving at an incredible pace, I love the intro to this track. Sill retaining the melody line of the original song, this has a much more dance friendly feel to it. Tom enters with his vocal…the word rhyming is a bit cheesy but it all fits in to make an epic remix…I prefer this over the original…just because of the energy.

December [Neuroticfish Remix]—-This is remixed very nicely for the dance club of Industrial means. The track takes on a bass heavy swirling synth that really made a big grin come upon my face when I first heard it. The vocal is left intact and the feeling of the original rack is very present. The feeling of rebirth and new beginnings allows the song to ebb….flow….swirl and open back up again and welcome you into the fold. This is fantastic….I love it!!

Ignorance—-I would gather this bonus track is considered a B-side…..but this is fantastic!!! Reminding me of some of the material from the last two previous releases, this has a much more synth blip and beep sound that was missing from the tracks offered on the proper release. This even sounds a bit happier and optimistic. I really like this…..

Salt The Earth [Angeltheory Mix]—-Traveling at a nice 120 BPM or so, this takes on a new life under this remix. The vocal…once again pushed to the back a bit is still present enough to feel the urgency that it conveys with this remix. I much prefer this over the original…it just feel so much more alive to me. Even of the lyrical content is not joyful….in this environment you make it as you wish.

December [Stereospread Remix]—-Beginning with a stark piano intro, the swirls lie in the back of the track waiting to happen……but the vocal moves up and the entire thing sounds a bit hollow to me. I don’t like the naked feel to the song….even when other effects are added….this naked version is not to my liking……

Bravery [Solitary Experiments Remix]—-Energetic and full of swirls and galloping synths, the vocal is much the same as it is on the original. I don’t notice to many differences with this version than the original….it is a bit more energetic…but one singular remix would have sufficed.

Goliath—Another B-side offering, this again is a throwback sound to the wonderful days when Tom seemed happier….not to say that the lyrics are joyful and full of optimism. The feel of the song has so much energy…it is damn contagious…the swirls and the speed of the song are fabulous….the vocal has some manipulation…but it only adds to the full body instrumentation of the track…..this is incredible!

Ignorance [Mr. Kitty Remix]—-With a swirling buildup of piano chords to the intro of the song, I am again disappointed with the pushing  of the vocal to the back of the mix…isn’t that why we are all here? This is a bit of a let=down for me…..I want the feel of the song to remain true despite the remix…and we lose all of the melancholy of the original. Still worth having though.

****1/2 out of 5

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