Speaking in an interview recently, frontman and lyricist Victor discussed how the rock star lifestyle he was developing as one he couldn’t carry with any honesty. On stage at Rokslide, he has an epiphany where “I felt vulnerable and out of balance with myself and my music”.
Being confused, aimless and longing to find meaning in your twenties is not something that’s spoken about much. In popular culture, you should have come of age by now. In fact, only Egg in This Life has ever really encapsulated the lost soul surrounded by those “getting on”. Victor captures this essence on ‘Athens’ with crippling self-reflection:
“Coward, bitter, foreign, throwing up, growing up”
On ‘Hollywood’, Victor ups the ante even more. Stripping back the rock star bravado to reveal a longing for something more humble, frankly, isn’t in the rock star guidebook. Nevertheless, with lyrics like ‘smack the door and show your wounds / Mediocre, it’s okay to be mediocre’ he has shown a courageousness we should laud over a great Ray-Ban shades.
Musically, there are large sections on ‘Confessions’ paying homage to Simon Gallup’s killer bass hooks of the Cure and the sumptuous summer licks of Bernard Summer. Title track ‘Confessions’ takes a swing at New Order’s ‘Your Silent Face’. Some will sneer but, if you’re in this game, dam right you aim emulate one of the best songs ever written.
Where ‘Confessions’ success truly lies though, is on the likes of ‘Red’, ‘Feel’ and ‘Tsukuyomi’. They’ve found an effortless groove here which leaves the past behind and transcends, albeit tentatively, their surroundings. To do this amid such personal identity turmoil is remarkable. ‘Tsukuyomi’ in particular, with its synth hooks and hand claps is the kind of dramatic pop music which will forge obsessive bonds with record collectors the world over.
There are moments, like on ‘King The Queen’ where the clarity dissipates though. The added aggression, if anything, is not added enough. It feels torn between their dreamy escapism and attempting something else.
What cannot be denied here though, is that through strife, great art has once again been created. ‘Confessions’ has negated a troublesome world to produce moments of true beauty. Much like their heroes (although to a lesser extent) New Order’s ‘Movement’, Alcabean are emerging from the anxiety with a offerings of art and love.