The Birthday Massacre have always been dark, but undeniably happy. The 80’s bubble-gum pop synths, and Chibi’s innocent vocals hardly left you cowering in the corner, or laying in bed depressed. And this of course, is not a bad thing. The Birthday Massacre would mess with your head – should you be happy, sad, dancing, sombre? The answer: whatever your heart desires.
This has been the case for The Birthday Massacre since their debut, and there is no reason that Superstition should be any different. Everything that you expect from The Birthday Massacre is here in their latest record, but it isn’t just more of the same. As soon as opener “Divide” begins you can tell that things are a little different. Chibi’s vocals are still laced with innocence, but they aren’t quite as childlike as they once were. They have a darker edge. In fact everything on Superstition has a darker edge. Across the entire album the drums have a more menacing sound than heard before, the guitars are rougher, the bass heavier, and the synths slightly moodier.
I was going to write that you can hear that their sound has matured, but I don’t think that’s accurate. Being darker doesn’t mean they’ve matured. Their previous albums were in no way immature or childish, and their happy, bubble-gum pop sound remains, they are just taking a slightly darker turn. It’s more accurate to say that The Birthday Massacre have picked out the best elements from their previous records, to make up the recipe that resulted in Superstition.
As I said there is still that bubble-gum pop sound, but The Birthday Massacre seem to be moving more towards dark wave electro sounds with their synths, rather than those happy sounds we’re used to. Tracks like “Destroyer” are reminiscent of “Blue”, an evolution of the previous darker tracks from The Birthday Massacre. While “Surrender” and album closer “Trinity” successfully create the eerie atmosphere that The Birthday Massacre are great at producing.
Superstition is a necessary step for The Birthday Massacre. While their happy-go-lucky goth sound was working for them, it would only be a matter of a time before that became boring, with every future release sounding almost identical to the last. The Birthday Massacre haven’t done a 180 and changed who they are. For the most part they have retained those uptempo electro sounds, particularly heard in “Oceania”, but they have continued to work on the darker sounds that have been simmering since the beginning. Their darkness has always had a sense of lightness to it, but that light is now slowly fading, with the darkness of The Birthday Massacre really coming out to play.