Neurosonic are the brainchild of Canadian Jason Darr, who wants you to know this, most certainly. The inlay blurb for the band’s debut album ‘Drama Queen’ sees him described in faux self-deprecating terms as “generally being a fuckface,” but only after first noting that he is responsible for “vocals, lead, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, piano, synths, programming, string arrangements,” in addition to production and sole songwriting duties. It doesn’t say so here, but I think he also invented music.
The ‘band’ he has formed around himself have been compared in some quarters to Nine Inch Nails (and are currently touring with Korn), but are in reality a much less uncompromising or intense proposition, employing as many melodic, FM-friendly choruses as they can fit over eleven tracks.
‘Drama Queen’ begins by attempting to establish its industrial credentials by intercutting rasping synths with stomping drums and sledgehammer guitar. Thus begins opener and recent debut single ‘So Many People’. It’s not long, however, before more evidence of the genre-hopping that permeates this record becomes apparent (the first being Darr’s chosen epithet his vehicle). The vocal style employed by Darr on the verses owes more to hip hop than metal, with the accompanying instrumentation akin to Depeche Mode in their 1990s pomp. (Amusingly however, the post-Eminem style of rapid-fire syllable delivery actually more closely recalls 90s no-hoper Snow, author of the novelty classic ‘Informer’.)
In light of the aforementioned mix-n-match approach of styles, the album perhaps deserves credit for its variety, even as it comes packaged quite deliberately to appeal to one particular demographic (tattooed Jason dressed solely in black, stares pensively out at the listener, sandwiched by stylised, playing-card skulls). For in addition to the expected guitar solos and rock riffs, there are regular pop diversions into melodic choruses, flashes of hip hop, use of strings, and ‘I Will Always Be Your Fool’ even makes a stab at reggae. For my money, however, there are too many commercial concessions and too few moments of vigour.
The lack of any real bite, leaves this album decidedly lacking and probably of interest only to the least discerning metal fan.