Theo and the Skyscrapers - So Many Ways to Die
Record Label: Dark Daddy Records
Release Date: July 7, 2007
Theo Kogan is a busy woman. In the past few years, she's released six albums with her former band, the Lunachicks, alongside a modeling career and a solo album, as well as various acting gigs. Lately, she has taken on a new style with the aptly named Theo and the Skyscrapers (Kogan is rather petite, while her band members are all around 6'5''). Kogan's sound is heavily influenced by 80's luminaries like Gary Numan, Blondie and the Human League, and it brings a retro style to the table while still remaining modern.
So Many Ways to Die is the sophomore release from the band, and stylistically relies on catchy electronic beats and synths coupled with hooks aplenty. The album begins with a beat heavy opener "Good Mourning," which features no vocals besides various "woah-ohs," but gives you a good idea of the instrumentation that you'll be hearing for the rest of the album. The standout track on the album is "Jealousy Died," which in my opinion has the best synth numbers and the most infectious chorus.
Kogan's vocals range from great ("City of the Witch") to a tad grating (the comparatively slower "Ghost"). Her voice fits the music well though, and even in her less than savory times it doesn't detract too much from the overall experience. While some of the tracks here tend to blend together, especially towards the end, most of the instrumentation/beats are well done, and will be sticking to your brain like glue. This is evident in the track "Already Dead," which is easily the angriest song on the album. "You can't kill me / I'm already dead," Kogan belts out behind quick beats and driving guitars, and ends the song with a resounding "Shut the fuck up!" While these lines may not be lyrical masterpieces, Theo sounds passionate enough to pass it off.
While the album does have some forgettable tracks and some patchy vocal work, the music holds up well enough on its own. While you may read this and think to yourself, "Great, another band with synths," Theo and the Skyscrapers have more in common with 80's synth-pop/new wave bands than they do with the current crop of bands.