Genre: Indie Rock + Gothic Rock + Synthpop + Electropop
Similar Artists: [Earlier material: Nine Inch Nails, The Cure]
Online: Bandcamp, Jamendo, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube
- Endless Hours [Wizard EP]
- Rainbow Stone [Rainbow Stone Single]
- Fireballs [Wizard EP]
- One Step Away [Kids in Toyland EP]
- Wizard [Wizard EP]
- Surfing on Gasoline [Surfing on Gasoline EP]
- Turn the Lights On [Turn the Lights On Single]
- Warm Up [Kids in Toyland EP]
- Mad Jungle [Wizard EP]
- Moonlight Dancer [Surfing on Gasoline EP]
- Burning Sky [Wizard EP]
- Rainbow Stone – Remix [Kids in Toyland EP]
- One Step Away (Instrumental)
- Warm Up (Instrumental)
- Moonlight Dancer (Instrumental)
- Surfing on Gasoline (Instrumental)
- Fireballs (Instrumental)
- Rainbow Stone – Remix (Instrumental)
- Mad Jungle (Instrumental)
- Rainbow Stone (Instrumental)
- Wizard (Instrumental)
- Endless Hours (Instrumental)
- Burnin Sky (Instrumental)
- Turn the Lights On (Instrumental)
I first became acquainted with the music of Fresh Body Shop more than a decade ago through the original version of the album The Ugly Army. Time has passed since then and I find the work of French musician Pedro Rousseau to be evolving from the early dark gothic rock vibe into something much more mischievous and playful. This is not to say that the early material was terrible because it certainly is not. Instead, I would say that the style of those early tunes is simply different from the newer compositions. This is an observation about how artists of any kind change over time.
In this post, I will be reviewing Fresh Body Shop’s 2015 remastered release One Step Away, a collection of twelve songs followed by instrumental versions of each. These tracks are from previous releases, but each has the feeling of a single moment and/or experience. Think of it as an anthology rather than a single ongoing story. Some of you might even recognise a few of the songs from the album as well, as a few have recently been used in TV shows.
I considered going about the lengthy task of dissecting each song for this post, but that would take more time than is feasible. Instead, I will talk about what I consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the album. The first strength is the diverse nature of the songs. For example, there is a stylistic difference between the first and eleventh tracks. Whilst Endless Hours is mischievous, the song Burning Sky is more serious in nature. You can hear these differences in the lyrics as well as in the instrumentation of the tracks. You see this throughout the entirety of the album, continuing on with that feeling of an anthology.
The second strength is the willingness for FBS to avoid making their songs politically correct or “pretty”. Whilst the songs aren’t laced with profanity, the lyrics have a mature and sometimes cynical view of the world. I like this element, as it doesn’t infantilize the listener. Given the current political climate, this might put some people off… which I suppose is a weakness if you want listeners that can be triggered at the drop of a hat. Me? I prefer to be treated as an adult given that I am one.
The third strength is the attachment of instrumental versions of each song. I like the ability to listen to compositions with and without vocals because it gives me the ability to more easily isolate specific instruments as well as have the tunes as background rather than the main feature. An instrumental version of a vocal track can achieve both. From a writing standpoint, playing a vocal followed by an instrumental version is also useful when you are working on a project using an episodic TV format (multiple scenes that move a story forward) as it can help you place yourself more readily into that mindset.
Do I have a favourite song? That is a tricky question. A lot of reviewers have put forward the tune Moonlight Dancer, but I find it difficult given that each song stands on its own. I don’t find myself listening to one track more than another, apart from what you’d expect from having a listening session (I typically begin at the start of the album) interrupted. However, I do use a couple of the songs as part of a writing playlist for one of the series that I am currently working on, predominantly the track Rainbow Stone. It is less about favouritism and more “setting the scene”. The answer is nuanced, relating to whether I am listening to the album on its own or using it for creating a mindset. Even then, it varies based on how my day has been. If you end up downloading the album, be sure to let me know if you have a favourite song.
In conclusion, I find this release to be a wonderful addition to the Fresh Body Shop album catalogue. I recommend it to anyone looking for mischievous Indie Rock with a cynical edge for either personal use or for their creative endeavours. Be sure to also check out Fresh Body Shop’s other releases while you are at it.