It might well be a big city thing or, at the very least, a commentary on big city life. It might even be some sort of race memory of better times, but it is hard to deny that “Six Strange Passions” by Profit Prison does, on initial acquaintance, seem more of a homily to the bleaker moments in synth pop’s past than a product of a modern day musician.
The oppression of the sequencer looms large over these six songs and, with the downbeat lyrics seemingly called in from the end of a time tunnel, Profit Prison often appears to be the jailer of his own soundtrack. Even arthouse soundscapes such as “It Was She Who Most Wept And Grieved At The Horror Of Her Fate” do not distract the listener from the fact that most of what is here appears brutal and emotionally separated from the sunshine that exists in everyone’s soul much in the way that Alan Vega used a drum machine to surgically separate rock ‘n’ roll from its youthful worshippers.
The crux here is whether Profit Paradise are merely trying to escape from some sepia lit dancefloor of the past or whether the resolute use of analogue type sounds and heavily processed vocals is a statement on the stagnation of society and the music that is forcibly imprisoned within its walls. Maybe that is looking to far into it. “Six Strange Passions” could, after all, just be an experiment in curtains drawn bedsit electronica yet, so successful is the sonic evocation of emptiness, that I think not.
Best song? The (almost) upbeat “A Strange Situation”
The verdict? Not for everyone but synth-pop heads will appreciate the sequenced bleakness.