Last year Flaming Fish Music was proud to boast Regenerator as the newest addition to their lineup, and the stage was set for the release of Debugged, the band's fourth full length. The label dubbed it 'dark hypnotic technopop,' and though keeping convoluted genre after sub-genre straight in my head is hardly something I put much effort into, this description does seem to fit the band's music.
Hailing from southern California, Regenerator formed back in '92, the tight duo of Patrice Synthea and Wrex Mock. The pair share vocal duties, Synthea's beautiful melodies offset by Mock's deeper, grittier voice. The lyrics and vocals, delivered with this duality, contribute to the music's catchyness and work together to lodge each track in your head.
Mock, responsible for all the band's programming, has a laid back style featuring synthpop sensibilities (it's catchy and repetitive) but with a harder edge and that prevents it from being pinned to that genre. The band has appeared on comps ranging from predominantly gothic to overtly synthpop, and their formula isn't alien to either. Mock has an impressive arsenal of electro tools and knows how to utilize and manipulate them. Even so, it's the song "Horn of David" that really stands out, a track driven by the most instrumentation on the disc. Deep, rich cello works really well up against the programming, and a middle-eastern stringed instrument further adds to this "organic" bent. Again, Synthea's vocals shine.
"Intruder" throws some electric guitar into the mix, and instead of just sounding like it's in a layer all it's own, slapped on top, it really works its way into the sound. Debugged's final track, "The Dream of Eternal Peace," is an all-instrumental piece, with more of Mock's guitar adding melody, this time soft and laced with feedback. Though it's a solid enough note to end on it's added proof that the duo's vocals enrich and elevate the music quite a bit. "Excision" is one of the disc's more percussive tracks, nearly breaking into an EBM vein with Synthea's ethereal vocals in tow.
Some religious and social politics are evident within the themes behind the music, such as with the anti-heroin song "Drug," which basically labels drug addicts as sinners as opposed to individuals consumed by a sickness, and "Crusher," a fairly simple statement as to who exactly will perish during the second coming (chalk my atheist ass up). Unfortunately when you inject subject matter this opinionated into your art you're setting it up to be rejected based on the messages as opposed to the music itself, which is sad considering the quality of the songs this duo has to offer.