Pamela Rounis
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Consonance

Masquerade The Sound of Masquerade

We recently listened to this playlist by Dinner (AKA Anders Rhedin) and the song Guardian Angel by german synth pop duo Masquerade really stood out. The YouTube video showcases the bizarre duo in Phantom of the Opera style masks, face paint, red lipstick, and capes. It's from an appearance on a TV show though the two people in the video are allegedly not even in the band at all. The CD of this album sells for $85 on Discogs but the Vinyl sells for as low as $2. Here's what we thought.

Listen to the full album here 

Pam: The beginning of this album starts with an overture (they call it a prelude) where they give you a taste of the songs and themes to come. This is a common thing to do with operas and since they dress like they are starring in one I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise. This is bookended by an epilogue but both tracks feel like padding for a very short album. Every song starts promising and then something comes in and ruins it. The synth horns really bother me, they are just so incredibly cheesy. The title of the song The morning after the night before, I just can't wrap my head around...when is this exactly?  The morning of the day that something happens in the evening? It's a logic puzzle. Everyday Loser isn't the worst...it's not the best either but it has its moments. Mostly I just like the title and sentiment. Summer's Over has some Bee Gees-like harmonies that I really like, this is probably my second favourite after Guardian Angel. I doubt I would revisit this album as a whole but would keep a couple tracks in rotation. I give it 2 out of 5 tubes of face paint. 

Phil: What we have here, on full display, is hyperstylized-hackneyed-eurovision-melodrama - and I love it - well, some of it... or maybe... OK it's mostly TOTAL SHITE. There is one walk-off smash hit called 'Guardian Angel' which - for me - is a perfect sentimental-earworm. From what I've read the two phantoms that appear in the video do not actually perform on the recording. Let`s call them the German Milli-Vanillski. The dual vocals are actually performed by one human man, German 'Schlager-singer' Drafi Deutscher. Portly, bearded, cheese curds in his beard, warm gravy on his vest. He`s a Cuban-hat-man, a sort of genre chameleon, performing on close to 30,000 albums, including writing hit tracks for Boney M and Nino de Angelo, using multiple aliases including Kurt Gebegern and Mr. Walkie Talkie. Presumably he has assumed multiple identities because he is mortified by everything he has ever written or recorded. **UPDATE - The reason Drafi Deutscher has so many pen names is that he was found guilty of PUBLIC INDECENCY for drunkenly pissing off of his balcony into the street while a group of schoolchildren looked on. NO JOKE. I still really do love 'Guardian Angel' in a very honest way. No irony, no tongue in cheek, no smirk. I think it`s an incredible song and I wish I wrote it. The rest of the album never quite hit`s that high water mark left by 'Guardian Angel'. The album is produced and co-written by Chris Evans Ironsidewho is pretty prolific and worked on what I understand is an Italo-Disco masterpiece called 'LP Dance Control'. So if you`re an honest fan of Italo-Disco / Euro Synth-Pop I recommend taking a listen to 'Jet Set Age' 'Love Hurts' and 'Deep Under My Skin'' not that they are great tracks but there are some really interesting moments if that's your shtyle.

Pamela Rounis