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Artist Richter
Album Cost of Living
Record Label Sound as a Weapon
Artwork by Peter Voore
Year 2005

Richter, a band hailing from Canada, consists of the duo of Jack and Lizz. Cost of Living, their debut album, delivers a blend of synth and future pop, with lyrics that range from the politically-oriented, to the ever popular relationship/emotion/feeling territory. If you're looking for a happy, poppy album, look elsewhere, but you'll miss out on an album with a sound different enough to stand on its own and a quality that is often missing in today's music.

"Dirty Prophet", the fourth track, is a bit of political satire aimed firmly at a certain President and his underlings. "Freedom", at first listen, sounds almost too synth-poppy, with its sweeping synth lines and tinkling bell-like sounds, but when you listen closer, you'll find the lyrics conflict with the music itself. With refrains like I'll be free when you're gone, I'll be free when you're dead and buried, you know this is a song in disguise. I've always found these types of songs to be the most interesting because of the contrast between music and lyrics, similar to songs like "Deep Red" and "Suffer in Silence" from Apoptygma Berzerk. The tenth track, "Alumni", dips a bit too far into the 80's synth sound for my liking, but that is a matter of taste. "Alive in You" adds a touch of the dark, moody sound, reminesent of Clan of Xymox, towards the end of the album.

Overall, Cost of Living is an album that was clearly put together with forethought, even down to the fantastic artwork. The sound is not the over-done synthpop style, which is refreshing, and has a decent amount of vocal and musical variation to keep your attention. The lyrics are well written and though-provoking, making this an album you will enjoy on several different levels.


Rating 7 out of 10

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