Album, Single and EP Reviews




WSTLND cover art

Artist: CNJR
Catalogue Number: Future Archive Recordings
Review Format: Compact Disc
Release Year: 2019

Somewhere out there in the galaxy there will be a plant called Retro. There also has to have been an alien invasion from said planet as this would provide a suitable explanation for the ongoing exorcism of old analogue synth sounds so beloved of musicians like CNJR.

If you consider his debut album “WSTLND” in light of that, possibly psychotic, scenario then the thematic bleakness and oppressive robotic precision that pervades these twelve compositions makes a certain kind of artistic sense. It might also be that CNJR is simply smitten with the lost chords of low budget sci-fi soundtracks from the days of VHS although these looped clouds of sonic doom do not actually require the accompaniment of visuals and, even if they were required to, they would more appropriately be the claustrophobic shadows of early German Expressionist films. Therefore, to a notable extent, this is an album that relies on technology for its existence but draws pictures of isolation and alienation using the virtual fountain pen of an apocalyptic adolescent.

As you might imagine, this wordless story of spiralling decay is not, and was probably never conceived as, an uplifting experience for your heart or your mind. CNJR, to his credit, has given this album a consistent creative voice and one that transcends the simplicity of his message.

Best song? “NST” for making the walls close in.

The verdict? Bleak analogue synth sounds give CNJR his voice.
Review Date: May 19 2019