VNV Nation – Electric Sun

Dark times forms great songs

VNV Nation - Electric Sun

Album facts

Release Date: April 28th, 2023
Label: Anachron Sounds
Tags: , , ,
Discogs: VNV Nation – Electric Sun
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode, Solar Fake, The Prodigy
Final score: 3.8 stars
Matching album cliches: 1 / 7

The 'VNV Nation' fan­base had to wait a whole five years for new mater­i­al from the guys. After their last album, 'Noire' (2018), a lot has happened in the world, and some of it is reflec­ted in this album. The dark album art­work per­fectly mir­rors the mood of the album. As we know, dif­fi­cult times often give birth to excel­lent songs. We'll delve into the album and dis­cuss what that means in our com­pre­hens­ive review of 'Electric Sun'.

A classic VNV Nation opener

The title and name giv­en track 'Electric Sun' begins very calmly and builds up gradu­ally. Essentially, it's an epic bal­lad. Overall, it's not a bad track to start an album with. However, the song runs a bit too long for my taste, clock­ing in at a lengthy 6 minutes and 44 seconds. Towards the end, it starts to drag on due to the lack of dynam­ics and vari­ation. By the 5:20 mark, I was ready for it to end, as it had reached its peak. Please don't mis­un­der­stand me; the song is good, but even good things need to end to be valuable.

The song 'Before The Rain' is a clas­sic VNV Nation track with their sig­na­ture sound. Any die-hard fan will be thrilled by this song. A punchy beat and an arpeg­gio sequence whips us through the song. It's highly catchy and has the poten­tial to be a single. I could eas­ily pic­ture it being played on the dance­floor, as it exudes a lot of elec­tric energy.

A moment staged for us
Until we turn to dust
Until time’s evaporated
Lyrics from 'Before The Rain' by VNV Nation

VNV Nation (Promo photo 2023 by Arne Beschorner)
VNV Nation (Promo photo 2023 by Arne Beschorner)

'The Game' fea­tures more tra­di­tion­al instru­ment­a­tion, includ­ing piano and an atyp­ic­al drum sound for 'VNV Nation'. I must admit, the track was ini­tially jar­ring to me, but it ended up work­ing well. I appre­ci­ate the son­ic vari­ation here, espe­cially the bridge at the 2:12 mark, which is remin­is­cent of 'Depeche Mode'.

Creating pressure with a drop

The fourth track 'Invictus' on the album 'Electric Sun' deliv­ers a sol­id punch to the eardrums with its thick, fat ana­log synth sounds and bass-heavy beat. The song is def­in­itely geared towards the dance­floor and Ronan Harris' vocals are as full and power­ful as ever. I have to say, he con­sist­ently deliv­ers wheth­er in the stu­dio or dur­ing live per­form­ances, and that deserves respect.

'Artifice' is a clean­er and more tech­nic­al sound­ing track than the rest of the songs on 'Electric Sun', but that's actu­ally a pos­it­ive thing. Personally, I am a fan of punchy beats and driv­ing, power­ful sounds, and this song deliv­ers 100%. 'Artifice' is one of those tracks that grabbed me right away, and I almost dare to say that it's a softer ver­sion of their mega-hit 'Control'. But, of course, only almost (wink smiley).

Blazing guns and riots
Catastrophe’s back in style
Your back’s to the wall but you won’t take the fall
for the schemes of your wasted youth
Lyrics from 'Artifice' by VNV Nation

In con­trast, 'In The Temple' is a brief instru­ment­al inter­lude that didn't really speak to me and that I ended up skipping.

Get ready to hit the dancefloor!

Kicking off with a sci-fi-inspired intro and a snappy beat (almost 140 bpm), the incred­ibly fant­ast­ic track 'Prophet' starts with a bang. This song fits me like a tail­or-made suit. My good­ness, this track is amaz­ing! The tempo sends my heart racing, and my adren­aline demands a spot on the dance­floor. This is the sound that makes me love 'VNV Nation' above all else. It deserves to be a single release with a music video. 'Prophet' is offi­cially one of my top picks on 'Electric Sun'. And I per­son­ally thank the band for this incred­ible, mag­ni­fi­cent anthem.

We prom­ise forgiveness
and teach you how to love with hate
We sell you salvation
The wages of sin must be paid
Lyrics from 'Prophet' by VNV Nation

'Wait' was the first single release from the album 'Electric Sun' and I imme­di­ately fell in love with it. The beat that invites you to march in squares on the dance­floor is demand­ing but incred­ibly fun. The single ver­sion, with a runtime of 05:29 minutes, is bet­ter for me per­son­ally than the drawn-out album ver­sion, which lasts a whole 07:27 minutes. They could have released the longer ver­sion as a clas­sic exten­ded mix with the single, but let's not quibble. Even the longer album ver­sion does not drag on unne­ces­sar­ily or audibly.

Sadly, "At Horizon's End" is the second song on 'Electric Sun' that doesn't really appeal to me. It's an atmo­spher­ic bal­lad that's well-pro­duced but, in my opin­ion, very inter­change­able. Sorry, this is prob­ably more for the die-hard fans.

The sunset

The song 'Run' has an epic soundtrack feel with the use of strings, while the drums, espe­cially in the chor­us, have a bit of a mil­it­ary band vibe. It could have eas­ily been used as a grand finale for the album, but the track­list was arranged dif­fer­ently. The song is not a dance­floor hit, but it's also not a filler. For me, 'Run' is on the same level as the open­er 'Electric Sun' in terms of being a sol­id middle ground. By the way, the song could have been eas­ily shortened by two minutes.

VNV Nation (Promo photo 2023 by Arne Beschorner)
VNV Nation (Promo photo 2023 by Arne Beschorner)

'Sunflare' prac­tic­ally pulsates through the speak­ers and the crisp, short, and subtly used drum rolls sound fant­ast­ic. The 123 bpm some­how sound calmer and more relaxed than they tech­nic­ally should be. I think Ronan's warm­er and more sub­dued vocals con­trib­ute sig­ni­fic­antly to this, as well as the soft strings. Overall, the strings on 'Electric Sun' are once again prom­in­ently fea­tured, but they're also always used in a very diverse way.

Unfortunately, 'VNV Nation' ends the album with an instru­ment­al string-organ crap track. In the con­text of the entire album, it serves as the con­clu­sion of a mel­an­chol­ic epic, but viewed as a stan­dalone track, it's unin­ter­est­ing. Unless you're a fan of clas­sic­al music, it might work for you. Personally, it's not my cup of tea. Over and out.

Is the sun electric enough?

The pre­vi­ous albums were always very mixed and always a bit like a gen­er­al shop. Every album in the past has always con­tained great gren­ades, but also insig­ni­fic­ant gap fillers. Basically it's 'The Prodigy' phe­nomen­on: "The singles are great, the albums are aver­age".

Nevertheless, the album 'Electric Sun' is the best 'VNV Nation' ever! Am I exag­ger­at­ing? At least that's my truth and I'm really, really happy with the album. And the best thing is that with an over­all rat­ing of 3.79 stars there is still room for improve­ment. The album is a clear recom­mend­a­tion and I am super happy with my pur­chase of the Mediabook CD.

My tip to the band: Leave out the instru­ment­al tracks and mono­ton­ous bal­lads on the reg­u­lar album and release them sep­ar­ately as bonus tracks for the hard­core fans. Then maybe it will work out with a 4+ star rat­ing someday.

Track by track rating for: VNV Nation – Electric Sun

VNV Nation - Electric Sun
VNV Nation – Electric Sun
Electric Sun
Before The Rain
The Game
Invictus
Artifice
In The Temple
Prophet
Wait
At Horizon's End
Run
Sunflare
Under Sky
Recommend
Before The Rain
Artifice
Prophet
Wait
Weak
In The Temple
Under Sky
3.8

Typical album cliché list for: VNV Nation – Electric Sun

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Founder
  1. Me gusta el album, es un album más de VNV Nation. Fueron por lo cono­cido y un sonido muy bien logrado!

  2. I wasn't expect­ing much of this album, after Noire was under­whelm­ing (man­aged to only listen it once through) and pre­vi­ous albums felt very unfocused. But to my sur­prise, I actu­ally enjoyed this one quite a bit. Album knows what it wants to be and it deliv­ers. Although I have to say every song feel like an anthem and loud, so it's quite exhaust­ing to listen to.

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Electric Sun
Before The Rain
The Game
Invictus
Artifice
In The Temple
Prophet
Wait
At Horizon's End
Run
Sunflare
Under Sky
Final Score