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  Black Tie Dynasty  
  Idol Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Brett Spaceman  

Nostalgia. Some quick research and all I see is "memories" and "nostalgia" in relation to Black Tie Dynasty. To my mind, this is like stopping at first base when there's a home run to be had. Yes, play the record and we're reminded of the early 80s – Echo and the Bunnymen in particular. Big deal. What of context? Indie was a niche market back then. Now it's mainstream. What of potential, of possibility? Writers eh! Spot one influence and it's pipe and slippers time! Tsk.

Black Tie Dynasty built their reputation with their live shows, and released an earlier EP to rival any mini album going. This is their debut proper and to give you an idea, you could take any track and drop it seamlessly into the soundtrack to Donnie Darko. Big, splashy guitar licks, anthems, choruses! Remember those? Black Tie Dynasty make indie that embraces melody. Not for them the angular, discordant thrusts of Forward Russia or Bloc Party. These guys have gone for the songs first and foremost, and THEN delivering them with sonically crafted perfection.

While the EP was a languid, exploratory affair, Movements runs like a Greatest Hits album. Bells is an appropriately named opener as it chimes with all the swaggering intent of A Promise. Just listening to Cory Watson sing is stratospheric stuff. Didn't Bono Vox mean "best voice" in Latin? (McCulloch disagreed.) Well, maybe it's time somebody learned the Latin for second best?

Once around is a lost Editors classic and when the synth kicks in, The Killers would turn and weep. Debt is very formative (I will follow) U2. Less messianic than Bono, more wholesome than Dave Gahan, Watson at least doesn't attempt a faux English accent infusing this record with a fresher, transatlantic feel. I like you is arguably THE killer track here. An obvious single cut, this soaring, timeless classic only makes me wonder just how good Black Tie Dynasty can get. The mood becomes New Romantic on Tender (think early Talk Talk or Tears For Fears) And to throw away a chorus as magnificent as Lakes in the middle of the album….unbelievable generosity.

Movements is a better record than X&Y. Mind you weren't Coldplay another Bunnymen influenced, nostalgia band? Black Tie Dynasty are doing more than chasing the reminiscence dollar. The clubs never rocked to The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, or Kitchens of Distinction. Yet Movements is as essential a collection for indie DJs as the first half of Hot Fuss. Remember most other records of this ilk emphasize style over substance? How many times have we experienced great sound, one or two tunes, yet never able to follow up the early promise? (Hands up Interpol.) Movements has plenty of substance with a fair amount of style thrown in for good measure, but I think this band can get even better. Devotion works well as a climactic finale, but Black Tie Dynasty can go further in perfecting their darker, moodier tracks, varying the pace and stemming the tide of anthems.

Unless fate or the fickle music biz has a cruel trick up its sleeve, greatness is signposted all over this record. Passionate, joyful, honest and ambitious. The stars their destination?

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