The best music tends to come from outside the mainstream, from the creative fringes and to varying degrees, talks about the underdog, champions alternative paths and those that take them. After all, every musical movement worth its salt, from rock ‘n’ roll to hip-hop to punk to goth to ….well, everything, was driven by outsiders, the disenfranchised, those seeking change. Not only is that where the music found in Masqued Emotions comes from, but it is also the essence of the lyrical message it drives.
Musically, Masqued Emotions is a neat blend of vaudevillian pop and the sort of theatrical gothic sound that the Damned captured so well on albums such as Phantasmagoria…with a touch of musical theatre vibe thrown in for good measure. But it is the lyrics that better define the point and purpose of this debut album. As the artist and album names suggest, this is an album about those who want to hide no more, who has always been treated as society outsiders but are now seeking to reclaim their rightful place. As such, the lyrics deal with gender issues and trauma, bullying and celebrating those differences. And idea shows that, for the most part, humans have much more in common than those things which people use to set us apart.
No More You skirts the fringes of rock opera, Microtrauma (Every Day) is frantic and funky, and Shame is a slow-burning tune that starts in the territory of the gentle ballad and works its way up to stadium-ready, epic proportions.
Masqued Emotions is a wonderfully unusual album, forgoing the usual musical memes, pop fads and rock fashions, instead defining itself through its own set of sonic rules. And such a musical stance matches the lyrical thrust; it’s an album which says as much through its musical originality and defiance of convention and norms as it does through the more direct messaging of the lyrics. Smart. Very smart indeed.