Archive: Anything That Gets You Through the Night Album Review

Archive: originally posted 10/12/2010 at czedwards.com

I have been an EBM fan for a long time now, so I’m always looking for something fresh, both from new artists and past favorites. I found Edge of Dawn a couple years ago, when they only had one album, Enjoy the Fall, out. That effort is exceptional, not just as music to be danced to and listened to, but as a meditation on one of the hardest psychological illnesses to endure, both for those suffering from it and those who have to live around it. Enjoy the Fall represents Borderline Personality Disorder the way only someone who has lived it can, and yet… doesn’t fall into despair.

So to say I have some affection for Edge of Dawn is a bit of an understatement. Thus, I was hoping that their second album would be as good, and that would make me happy. Second albums often suffer — artists who have had their entire life to make their first album perfect have only a year or two to craft the second one.

I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. This album, called Anything that Gets You Through The Night, seems to come from the same well as Enjoy the Fall, but from a step beyond, as if time and age and experience have given perspective. This album has the feel of a meditation on love, loss, longing and desire, and explores both the lightest of the light and the darkest of the dark sides of those intrinsic human qualities.

It opens with Beyond the Gate, which sounds like it wants to start typically poppy, except the lyrics don’t want to go there. There are elements of post-Bauhaus Peter Murphy and VNV Nation’s recent, simpler pieces in the composition, but Edge of Dawn has always been lyrically complex and thought-provoking.

Denial broods, as it should. It’s a meditation on grief, loss and survivor’s guilt. It channels a little bit of Eminem in his more bleak, melodic moods.

Lucid Dreams brightens the album with a crunchy, poppy esthetic that belies the lyrical intensity. It’s great for dancing.

Valid World is one of the more experimental pieces on the album, with verses almost shouted juxtaposed against a gorgeous, despairing, melodic chorus. The chorus could be an anthem for so many of us — I grow strong, I grow tall, I’m a living wall. I not frail, I can’t fail in my valid world. I am strong, I am tall, and I’m sick of it all. And I’m tired, so tired. This especially speaks to me as a feminist — we’re encouraged to be Buffy and Gloria Steinem and our own hero… but that’s exhausting and sometimes, the struggle to be strong seems not worth the effort.

Siren’s Call speaks of the conflict between desires — truth or pretty lies, love and lust, the physical and the spiritual — and how dark those conflicts can be.

All the Time is one of my favorites on this album. It appeals to the darker side of my soul, the one that wants dominance and control. The driving rhythm breathes itself into your ears like a lover in the middle of a long, sweaty night.

Stage Fright continues the beat with a poem as evocative and eclectic as e.e. cummings, but far more relevant to 2010. I have a feeling this might end up being the club number off this album. One aspect of Edge of Dawn’s music that has always intrigued me: as sexual and frustrated and raw as their lyrics can be, they never lose respect for the women they portray. Their female characters may be in dicey situations, there may be pain and sorrow, but their women are not fragile.

Capture is virtually instrumental, save for some brief German lyrics (and since I don’t speak German, the words mean nothing to me, though the translation looks interesting.) It has the feel of a piece of modern classical, perhaps from a game or film score, and is a welcome pause from the intensity that has gone before and is yet to come. It will be a wonderful piece to use when writing battle scenes.

And that respite is necessary, because In Your Sleep takes the listener to the darkest of the dark places. It’s the song you want that awful ex to have to hear in your voice. It also appeals to that darkly dominant side most of us have, but never share. Though it begins quite delicately, it builds upon itself into a crunchy piece of true rock.

Save My Soul is, like Pray for Love on Enjoy the Fall, one of the more romantic pieces on this album. Edge of Dawn tends towards spoken verses interleaved with hauntingly melodic choruses, and Save My Soul follows that pattern.

But Falling is the most unabashedly romantic piece on the album, as well as the most danceable and — dare I call it this? I do! — bouncy! With an almost Latin feel, it’s got a sense that there’s a Tango somewhere in its lineage. It is also one of the more unabashedly sensual and sexual pieces on the album.

Capsized doesn’t let the sweet side dominate through the end of the album, however. One of the harder, complex and darkest pieces on the album, it returns to the darkness of love, loss, pain and grief. And ending on that note could be depressing, but that’s the point of this exercise. It’s what gets you through the night.

The digital download comes with a digital booklet (I assume the CD has one similar) that tells a fairly common, slightly sordid tale. The images, beautifully shot and composed, are harsh and emotionally brutal, but all too familiar from the emotional space of the nights that are hard to endure. If you’re a downloader of music, this is a time to buy the whole album, not a few songs, because the book is a work of art all on its own.

The album is available at iTunes, Amazon, and better retailers. Go get it…. What are you waiting for?

 

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