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Artist Underwater Pilots
Album Tranquil Places
Record Label Van Richter Records
Year 2008

Tranquil Places is the debut release for the German duo of Manuel G. Richter and Gregoire Vanoli, released in Europe in 2004, but now available in the U.S. on Van Richter Records. For being four years old, this is a quality synthpop release, with a few other musical influences to add some pizazz.

The album starts out with its two strongest tracks, "Loud and Clear" and "Welcome to the World", both catchy tracks, almost making this album a must buy for these tracks alone. "Loud and Clear" has a strong, consistent beat, which, coupled with the vocals, makes this a memorable song. "Welcome to the World" is both more up-tempo, and at the same time, down tempo, vocally, giving it a futurepop kind of sound. Both songs will get stuck in your head.

At times, the album sounds somewhat like Seabound or Depeche Mode, especially on "Leaving Home", where it seems like a fusion of the two, but in general, Underwater Pilots avoids sounding too much like other contemporary bands. There are also some treats on this album, like the quirky "Ice Cream", a strange song, which proves that this duo has a bit of a sense of humor, albeit a bit kinky. There's also a drum-n-bass infused track towards the end of the album called "My Darkness".

The album finishes with two remixes, one of "Loud and Clear" by Dope Stars Inc. and one of "Welcome to the World" by Mimetic. The first remix definitely adds a more standard guitar/bass/drums sound that makes the remix interesting. The Mimetic remix is very IDM, which, while different from the original song, isn't as good.

For an album that is already four years old, this album still sounds fresh. Tranquil Places, as a whole, is a great listen and has enough diversity in it to distinguish it from the sea of acts out there. I would definitely recommend picking up this album - you won't regret it.


Rating 9 out of 10

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