"Any Other Way" is the 3rd album from John Morgan Reilly's Seattle based project. RxGF or "Radioactive X Girlfriend". This album benefits from a collaboration Reilly formed with 20 year old vocalist Angeline Schaaf in 2013. She carries a charisma to her voice that keeps her from being just another Siouxsie impersonator. Schaaf combines the influence of darker singers from the 80's and 90's, that is not limited to Siouxsie, but includes the whole post - Nine Inch Nails industrial pop movement. She leans more toward smart pop hooks than grit , and is not caught in a time warp but seems very aware of what's going on in pop radio.
At times electronic elements come across like A Perfect Circle re-mixes, but their guitar sound saves the day with the perfect blend of effects. The fuzzed out bass lines that crop up from time to time also help add to the sound.They touch of the sleeze of Lords Of Acid on "Flesh and Bone", Schaaf's vocal persona expands to include the sultry drug pout of Lady Gaga in her more pop moments. Then there are the quick bursts of male vocals more akin to Mindless Self Indulgence.
They sometimes indulge in pop bombast to it , but more like if Kmfdm tired to pull off the weird anime influenced pop that's so huge in Japan. The beats sometimes carry a pulse similar to Bjork's "Army of Me". The Lady Gaga feel returns on "Tombstone Soiree". This is where Schaaf flirts with the New Orleans swing of Concrete Blonde in the way the melody flows "Never Felt So Good" dips into Massive Attack like trip hop. The layered vocals she uses here is effective since she uses this effect sparingly. The backing vocals on this song remind me of Madonna's"Justify My Love". The song goes into an almost kraut rock exploration, simmering over the surface of the moon like the soundtrack to a lunar landing. As they wander over the five minute mark it allows them to broaden the expanse of sound to allow for more experimental use of samples. "The Dying Grace of Machines" is a piece of weird plastic techno that sounds like if Aqua wrote a song for the Blade Runner sound track. The male vocals here come across more Thomas Dolby than industrial. Dynamically the song builds into something more akin Nine inch Nails synth heavy work.
They drop into the more organic "The Hit". Allowing the male vocals return, with a wink to "Mechanical Animals" era Marilyn Manson . When ever these male vocals pop up you can't help but wonder if this song would not be more intresting if we got to hear Schaaf's interpretation of them .It not that his melodies don't eventually find it's way, it's that there is a sneaking feeling her apporach might be what really makes the song. The album kinda of ives off the deep end. The plunge is lead by "Things that go bang " a sample driven techno piece, where the heavy handed political approach, is shoved down your throat in a manner that Ministry obviously set the bar for. The synths continue to take the quirky androids on parade . Marching to beats that are a simple hammering, not unlike the more "Army of Me" styled beats employed earlier on, but work better with the driving nature of this song.Some of these more experimental moments would sit better interspersed among the album's poppier , and help retain the album's focus. "Kontrollier Die Kontrollierenden" continues using the males vocals, it's like Rammenstein in a higher register. Lyrically it's more interesting to hear them rage against the machine, but the delivery comes across like Roger Waters collaborating with Jonathan Davis of Korn.
The instrumentally dominated dance trend continues with "Flow". Interesting sounds offset on another without adhering to any kind of structure , but isn't that the nature of dance music flow like the waves, so it lives up to it's title. The album closes with a re-mix of one of the bands earlier singles "Belladonna Dream". the song is surprisingly gentle and airy. Almost like a Sarah Mclaughlin song, in the way it falls back into it self. This album hits more than it misses, they work best when in falling into the same neighborhood as KMFDM's more light hearted moments. Schaaf 's songs are the album's strongest moments, but the album has it's heart in the right place and look forward to hearing what Reilly and Schaaf's partnership brings, as it sounds as if their best work is yet to come, but in the meantime enjoy where they are at.