MGF Reviews Foreign Cinema – Non-Synchronous Sound

Foreign Cinema – Non-Synchronous Sound
Parallax Sounds (2009)
Indie rock / Shoegazer / Trip-hop

The moody beats and ghostly vocals delivered from Foreign Cinema off of their debut EP, Non-Synchronous Sound, could quickly be in heavy rotation on every indie station, and in the bedrooms of gloomy hipsters, looking for their new-millennium version of Robert Smith.

Hailing from the West Coast, the band brings a melancholy shoegazer vibe mixed with a love of foreign films. They’ve been described as having a noir sound, combining light and dark musical elements, while offering a fresh perspective on the idea of music as a tool to set a mood, and tell a story via this ethereal four-song set.

Non-Synchronous Sound is tinged with low bass lines, airy keyboards, and Dave Han’s whispering vocals. Based on this EP, the band can assuredly be described as Depeche Mode’s not quite as talented or memorable younger sibling, but still with a good amount of potential untapped talent. Opening with three original compositions (all heavy on dark, floaty bass with a trip-hop edge), a cover of Depeche Mode B-side “Ice Machine” (which could be the best track on the EP) rounds out the set, as the band undoubtedly has a major crush on Dave Gahan and Co.

This EP is not bad by any means, with the haunting “At the Bottom of the Blue Sea”, and shoegazer homage “Lovers and Killers” standing out as the better of the original tracks. But it’s just not something that particularly stands out when we already have bands who have already done this style, and have done it better. Foreign Cinema seems to lack that special discerning trait that makes great bands, well… great.

A live show would definitely be worth checking out; this really is admittedly great background music, so adding something visual to the mix could be alluring. The band might also have a promising future were their material to be featured in as a soundtrack to either film of television, which would lend more to the tracks than just listening to them on your iPod—which I have been doing, and I am over it.

Anyone who enjoys the brooding synthpop of Depeche Mode and The Cure, ethereal pop of Air or trip-hop of Massive Attack may enjoy this EP, though Foreign Cinema might be more alluring to a younger generation who have not been exposed to these other bands. The rest of us who have grown up listening to the originals may find it hard to enjoy this for anything beyond a gracious tribute.