Archive are a four piece band from London who are based in Paris and though new album With Us Until You’re Dead is the sixth album to be released by the band, it’s only the second album that has made a ripple in the UK following the success of their 1996 album Londinium. The genre of the album is hard to pin down. Archive have always specialised in trip-hop, however, the music within this album spans over all genres; electronic, progressive rock, trance, post rock and the old trip-hop all being featured. But one thing is certainly for sure, the album is dramatic.
The first song Wiped Out sets an eerie foundation for the rest of the album, it is one that sounds as though it holds a lot of sorrow and pain and it inflicts its emotions upon the listener as the sadness at the beginning is evident. However, when the heart beat mimicking drum beat and the repetitive guitar plucking is kicked in it makes the listener feel as free a bird. The track shows why the band have usually stuck to trip-hop sounds as the song would provide a good backdrop for when Alice falls down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland, they are both equally trippy.
Twisting is an outstanding track on the album. Archive kick it up a notch with techno beats and the vocals of Darius Keeler are pushed to the limits so much within the song that it feels as though his voice is breaking out of the speakers. Adding the electronic sounds in the background makes the song seem a little heavier and succeeds to really push the song ‘out there.’
Having female singer Roya Arab softly singing vocals on some tracks makes the album stand out and gives a beautiful contrast between the harshness of some of the backing and the lyrics and the fragility of the songs. Things Going Down is a perfect example of this as Arab’s voice is soft and smooth and the addition of the triangle and gliding keyboard makes the song sound angelic.
If there was an award for the most dramatic and compelling album, Archive would certainly win it with this explosion of emotion, harsh beats and eerie backdrops. However, although the album is a spectacular effort from a band who were barely known after 1996 some of the songs within the album wouldn’t sound out of place in a 90’s dance club as the tracks seem as though Archive were just trying to mimic the success and popularity they had achieved with Londinium but instead got left with songs that sound dated and out of place in todays ‘clubbing’ scene.