Amidst dark electro beats, Billy Ray Martin, The Opiate’s lead singer, tries to convince us that she’s ‘really anything but bland’…I, however, am not so sure. Whilst vocally Martin displays an impressive talent, the deliberately minimalist style to the band’s debut EP has the power to either enchant or simply bore.
On a first listen, the EP is reminiscent of the music from a dark film soundtrack that accompanies the scene of a seedy strip club, buzzing full of unsatisfied men; all shamelessly striving for an inch of gratification. Something that similarly, this EP initially appears unlikely to provide.
The Opiates ,whilst musically talented, can be likened to the likes of a slightly less-content Thom Yorke, with the vocals of Annie Lennox. As strange as it sounds, it is this clash of modern electro beats and traditional s vocals that make the band innovative and the whole ‘Anatomy of a Plastic Girl’ experience, a lot less traumatic.
This contrasting individual style becomes more likeable as the EP develops and is explained with their influences listed as Kraftwerk and The Carpenters. ‘Oprah’s Book of the Month Club’ sounds similar to the early work of Garbage. A slightly more satisfied “Coated Candy Crime” incorporates Chemical Brothers-style beats with semi-amusing lyric “who cares if I get arrested, I’m only playing CSI” and appears to be the strongest track on the album, displaying the greatest relevance to audiences.
Repetitive beats that encompass the entire EP encourage toe tapping but sadly remain far from inspirational. However, there is a potent sense that was not part of the band’s mission statement, nor a burning desire of their demographic. Whilst the The Opiates are undoubtedly musically gifted, it is hard to see where they fit into the current music scene. If you’re really into music stripped to the bare basics and have a secret appreciation for The Eurhythmics, you’ll love The Opiates. If, on the other hand, Radiohead’s tales of dissatisfaction leave you struggling to pull back the duvet to face a new winter’s day…perhaps steer clear.