CD review: Archive- ‘With Us Until You Die’

By Darcie Hewitt-Dudding
By August 14, 2012 CD, Reviews

Big in Europe, but not so much in Britain. Which is surprising really, since they are a) very good, and b) hail from Britain (and Paris). This is down to their label who didn’t distribute in Britain (Boo! Hiss!).

They began life about eighteen years ago as a trip-hop band, and like most successful artists, have evolved and changed over the years into an orchestral/electronic/prog collective with an established sound. With core members Danny Griffiths and Darius Keeler providing the backbone of the tracks, four different singers provide varying elements that mean the tracks invite comparisons from artists such as Massive Attack, Radiohead, UNKLE and Pink Floyd. Produced by Jerome Devoise, who has produced a lot of soundtracks, the album definitely has a cinematic element running through it. He introduced Archive to orchestras, and they’ve never looked back.

Beginning with the epic ‘Wiped Out’, it evokes cinematic scenes of a trek/epic chase across the desert. The soft male vocals send shivers down your spine and set your expectations high for the rest of the album. The pace quickens and you are reminded of the band’s roots in trip-hop. A perfect, yet perhaps slightly depressing start to the album; it has a dark side that evokes a sense of struggle through the repetitive piano melody and epic drum beat.

“Who the f**k-“ are the first words that are heard on the aptly named ‘Violently’ after an orchestral introduction that stops and starts. The bass kicks in and we get intricate layers of an electro beat, a quick piano melody and soft strings added to the fray. “Who the f**k is anything?” Holly Martin sings, adding another layer with her passionate voice that borders on anger. The layers build and become almost cacophony and then they are deconstructed and focus on one aspect. This is a truly beautiful song that draws you in and refuses to let go. The orchestral elements combined with the prog and electro instruments brought together by Martin’s voice means that this really is a stand out track.

The whole album is an awesome hybridisation of orchestral and electro genres with a bit of edgy prog rock thrown in; vocals evoke every emotion and the drum beats provide the spine of the songs in a creative way and anchor all the sounds together producing  an excellent album that will give Archive the success that they deserve in Britain.

‘With Us Until You Die’ will be released August 27 through the band’s own Dangervisit Records via Cooperative Records.

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