Sounds Of System Breakdown certainly went the extra mile for their full debut album ‘Nomad’. It was a year in the making during which the band spent time recording in West Cork, Dublin, London, the metropolis of Westmeath and collaborated on production with Mercury award-winning mixer Rob Kirwan.
When an album begins with a song titled Intro, you expect it will be a short instrumental prelude before the real songs are presented. And Intro does progress like this, eventually bringing in effect-laden vocals. It’s not the most engaging of songs to begin with, but this is a false dawn for the album.
Sounds Of System Breakdown display an enviable knack for memorable choruses which are peppered throughout the album. It is first noticeable on the electro post punk Jumps which is the real barometer of what to anticipate over the course of the album. The pop sensibilities and Hot Chip style off kilter beats of Neon Contrails also has a big addictive ‘woooh’ chorus which is the sort of song ready-made for festivals. It contrasts with the air of cool which emanates from the first few bars of Pony as it brings in electric guitar, backing vocals and a killer melody. The first single Mayfly has been out for a while and it’s a song which has not lost any of its lustre and has no right to be as catchy as it is.
The decades are traversed with an 80’s synth feel present on the superb King of Reptiles, while Skin’s guitar riff is more akin to 70’s funk. Tear at the Seams delves back into 80’s territory with Rob Costello even sounding like Simon Le Bon and Tony Hadley. It is a contender for best song on the album. Not all the songs are like these hook filled electro pop tunes as there are a few instrumental tracks: Silverfish with its electro beeps and rhythm is reminiscent of early Orbital while Dark Chocolate is more kraut-rock inspired.
The album closes out with MayFly Reprise and Learning To Be Human which are more mellow tunes, with the former‘s instrumental ambience leading to the latter’s electro folk. Both are come down songs from the euphoric party that preceded them. In terms of influences or comparisons , the obvious ones are Depeche Mode and Hot Chip, and it bears a passing resemblance to the album Fantasy Black Channel from English electro punk outfit Late Of The Pier. Sounds Of System Breakdown have not missed a trick here and the end result is a joyous album equally liable to captivate your mind as it is to have you busting some moves.