Hot off the success of the Super Hexagon soundtrack, the intense Irish lass known as Chipzel is back with "Spectra," a new album with definite highs and lows. I'm a huge fan of her 2010 release "Disconnected," which was a pretty fantastic explosion of emotional GameBoy tunes. Like "Disconnected," the new album has ten tracks; but unlike her previous effort, "Spectra" is a bit of a mixed bag.
Chipzel wastes no time with the opening songs--the title track and "Tokyo Skies" bang along with sweet bass and harmony work. "Forged in the Stars" keeps things moving until the nicely atmospheric interlude, "Formed in the Clouds," takes over. Track number five "Only Human" is probably one of the best things Chipzel has ever written, chock-full of hard-hitting emotional melodies and tight song structure.
Unfortunately, the second half of the record isn't quite as inspired. The five-minute-plus "Evolution" doesn't really do much to justify its running time, and the repetitive "Veteran" is a bit of a missed opportunity. Chipzel also decided to mix and master the entire album herself this time, and although it's not terrible, the slightly-off mix could use some fine-tuning.
I have one more gripe: the ridiculously good bonus track "Sunday" isn't part of the main tracklisting. If you only listen to one song from this artist, make sure it's that first bonus track. Light and well-composed, "Sunday" is a definite high point in Chipzel's career.
Overall, "Spectra" is a pretty solid album with some of this girl's best work to date; but a few missed opportunities hold it back from earning all the hype it received.
SCORE: 7.5 out of 10 - "Good"
Check out the album here: http://chipzelmusic.bandcamp.com/album/spectra