Once I Ruled the World
By Al Kaufman
Cinetrope think big. The Atlanta band, whose name means “film music,” have created a concept album about a man-made plague that ends the world (turning people into zombies, of course), the guilt the creator of the plague goes through, and the creator’s ultimate redemption by inventing a spacecraft that allows some people to escape the deadly earth. That said, the story plays a minimal role in the beauty of this CD.
As their name implies, Cinetrope create music that the listener can see. It is rich and ominous at one point, and harsh and danceable the next. Songs such as “Fear” and “Act Part II: Turning” have that same effect of a slowly pulsing ocean of beats and ambiance that the best Radiohead songs have. They’re moody, cerebral, and slightly uncomfortable, but ultimately captivating.
Lead singer Sharron Von Hoene is often compared to Siouxie Sioux, but one listen to pop gems such as “Inside My Head,” and it is obvious she can also pull off the bubbly goodness of singers such as the Submarines’ Blake Hazard. In the song she is happy and giddy and in love (with a scientist who is killing her slowly). It demonstrates a sunnier side to a woman who can do dourness and dismay with the best of them.
While much of the CD is fueled by dream-pop, “Act Part I: Apprentice” offers up some driving rock including a guitar riff that recalls Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police.” And “Stars in My Hands” has a sort of jazzy/funky ’70s feel to it that would fit in well in a Roger Moore-era James Bond flick.
This entire CD has a swirling, moody effect, much like one would imagine such a heady concept album to have. It’s a gorgeous effect. The melodies linger, like dew on a flower petal. Then they slowly seep in and nourish.