Nilaihah Records
main main about merch bands live contact forum downloads links
Launch MP3 Player
BLIND FAITH AND ENVY REVIEWS >>>

The Charming Factor - CD 2004
Gothic Paradise
Music Non Stop
Legends Magazine
Industrial Nation
Synthpop.net
Chain D.L.K.
DJ Eurotic
Collected Sounds
The City Morgue
DJ Null
Scotland Yard

UpSwing
Re/Volt Magazine
Synthpop.ru (in Russian)
Wetworks electrozine
Gothic Beauty Magazine
Side-Line Magazine summer 2004
Side-Line Magazine fall 2004
A Different Drum
________________________________

REVIEWS

Gothic Paradise
I usually look forward to the latest releases from Nilaihah Records and it's always interesting to be introduced to a new group like this. I had no preconceived notions as to what the music released by this group would be like and had heard no other opinions except for the press release. Like many new bands, sometimes it takes a few listens to adjust to the newly defined style and let the music grow on you. So I've delved into the lyrics, the musical bites and sound textures to try and form some kind of opinion about this debut album.

The Charming Factor seems to be a fitting title for this album bringing out the heart and soul of the lyrics, musical style and vocals. Charlene pours on the "charm" in so many ways, a touch of style, but overall just solid vocals in each piece. At first it seems that the "pop" factor is very apparent with the first track "Golden Glass", but then you detect the New Wave and Synthpop styles from the 80's and 90's in the music and it all becomes a little more accessible and familiar to those of us in the underground music scene that shy away from "pop" music. Furthermore when "Crowded Room" starts, the mid-tempo beat and rhythmic instruments bring out the modern tendencies and technology for a full and enjoyable style. There are many mid-tempo tracks with laid-back elements for the "chill-factor" from time to time. But when it comes right down to it, my favorite track on this album is when this duo brings out an almost purely ethereal track in "She's Left In Silence". The beautiful piano loops, soft vocals and background soundscapes are completely captivating. This is a great finale to the main portion of the album because of it's full texture and defining, yet varied style.

I would have been entirely happy if the album would have just ended at this point. But after 18 short silent tracks, we're brought to three bonus remixes. None of which are very attractive or catching in any way, but I do have to give the remixers credit for original and experimental style with exception of the first. This first remix is by Blank of "Crowded Room" which really picks up the pace and adds pounding techno beats and extra synths. But the experimental trancey "Goa remix" of the same track by Null Device was quite disappointing. The trance and hypnotic experimental textures end up being distracting rather than appealling. Neuroactive adds their unique twist to "Major Philosopher" with their "Hybrid Mix". They also take quite an experimental twist on this track, really detracting from the solid foundation the original version has.

Overall a fairly nice album with a new and interesting sound taken from bits and pieces of styles that have worked well in the past.

Gothic Paradise

Music Non Stop
"The Charming Factor", the debut album from Blind Faith And Envy mixes Delerium style soundscapes with electro-dance overtones ( as evidenced splendidly on their US college radio hits "Major Philosopher", "Golden Glass", and "Shout" ) The band present a strong album debut in the vein of classic acts such as Delerium, Schiller, Nine Inch Nails or even Depeche Mode. Additionally, "The Charming Factor" includes special club mixes from Blank, Null Device and Neuroactive !

Music Non Stop

Legends Magazine
Many years ago, a group of folks got together and created purely computeresque music. An attempt to fuse modern day technology with music itself. They were called Kraftwerk. As the musical landscape progressed, there became a strong separation between truly "electronic" acts and truly "guitar" acts. And on the electronic side more folks, with names like Erasure and New Order, took this new technology-driven sound and re-infused humanity into it creating what many of us today call "synth pop."

In an effort to be fresh, new and original the "guitar" and "electronic" camps started fucking each other and the result were folks like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and the heavier guitar-driven electronic. But at this point things got very muddy, because it was possible to really suck at making music. Just play louder, nobody will notice. There were stand-outs, sure, but only truly creative musicians survived alone on the electronic side of camp as in their world you listened to all the facets of the music without deafening the other parts over it. It's called "arranging."

Enter Blind Faith and Envy - a blend of all that was wonderful from the synth-pop daze. Brilliantly programmed electronics by Daniel Guenther, comfortably accomplished synthesizers and truly pleasing female vocals from Charlene April. For any one of us that miss New Order, Erasure and dig today's folks like Dissonance(1) and The Azoic(2), Blind Faith and Envy will really move you to remembering how good a musician can be when it's about playing better - and not just louder.

Even shorter instrumentals like Texture are reminiscent of the best of the old skool synth-pop while not at all sounding dated or rehashed. Heavier and stompier pieces, like the club recommended When I Know You're Gone, uses bass as a bouncy control agent to anchor singer Charlene's smooth and sultry vocals. Building and layering rhythm, percussion and further synthesizer tweaks, Blind's tracks grow into blooming roses of colorful sound and pleasure. Catchy, upbeat but not by any means Prozac-ian.

The times when Daniel Gunether and Charlene April combine to harmonize, the chorus of Shout, a Depeche Mode cover, for example, is so blendingly smooth that you're hard pressed to tell the two apart though you know there are two here. Brilliant. Even the tracks on The Charming Factor that are not as good as the others are still worlds better than most everyone else. Stand Me Relentless as one example is good but not as stand out as Crowded Room, Golden Glass and others. But it is still a good track nonetheless.

She Left in Silence brings the main body of The Charming Factor to a slow ending. After this there are remixes by Blank, Null Device (both do Crowded Room) and Neuractive (Major Philosopher) at the end, following quite a number of empty skip tracks. The electro laden remix of Crowded Room by Blank (Agoraphobia mix) actually starts on track 31.

The Charming Factor is, easily, one of the best synth-pop releases of the past couple years. Blind Faith and Envy sound as good as when the genre emerged. As if they've stepped back a couple decades or so to hang out with the elite of the electronic camp and then came back to this millennium to drop their work and make us recall when new wave was...new.

Marcus Pan - Legends Magazine

Industrial Nation
The Charming Factor, the debut album by Blind Faith and Envy on Nilaihah Records, suffers from what ails many neo-synthpop bands: a reliance of melody driven songs that appear too formulaic in their approach to really make a lasting impression on the listener. Vocalist Charlene April breathes life into much of the CD with her strong vocal presence, but once again it is not enough to distinguish them from the rest of the neo-synthpop pack. What you have here is a pop album spiced up with some decent drum programming and synths. Many of the songs sound like updated Madonna and Stevie Nicks material from the 1980's, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you are into the current classic synth pop revival. Overall, I consider this a good CD with admirable qualities, but entirely too predictable along the way. On a more positive note, the Null Device remix of "Crowded Room" was an interesting interpretation of the original and is probably the most dancefloor friendly song on the CD.

Michael Casano - Industrial Nation

Synthpop.net- 5/5 stars
"I really have been pleasantly surprised lately by the number of excellent female vocal-driven bands that have begun to appear as of late. Glow, Tristraum and Ever are three other examples, and Blind Faith And Envy can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with those bands.

The band has it origins in a chance encounter in 1999, when Charlene, the primary vocalist and lyricist met Daniel, the producer and composer and heard some of his solo instrumental work and asked if she could sing for a few of his tracks. Approx. 5 years later, we now have the debut album of this project, with lots of hard work and polishing in the meantime. The vocalist here is a little similar to Tristraum's, but only a little. Her voice has a slight husky element to it, but still with a very clean and pretty sound to it. In the instrumentation, you can tell that Daniel was influenced heavily by EBM and Industrial, but synthpop greats of the past as well.

There are some really excellent synthpop songs here, with some even approaching an anthem-esque feel. "Something Different", "When I Know You're Gone" and "Golden Glass" both were not chosen to be the e-single for this album ("Crowded Room" was), but they are excellent, excellent songs, with great memorable choruses and some awesome music to go along with it. The cover of "Shout" must also be mentioned. You'll hardly recognize this classic track from DM, as it's been given a EBM kick in the pants and has some real teeth to it now. The remixes that close out the album are all very good contributions as well. I love the hyper tempo and pace that Blank has given "Crowded Room", and both Null Device and Neuroactive turn in very solid remix contributions as well.

Nilaihah Records and BF&E are both to be commended.. this album is yet another shining jewel in the Nilaihah catalog! Highly Recommended!" --Jason Baker, Synthpop.net

Chain D.L.K. - 4/5 stars
"Blind Faith and Envy's debut "the Charming Factor" reveals an artistic maturity and a professional approach that are rare to find in pop-electronica newcomers. The female-fronted duo's music is made of well programmed beats and sequences, carefully molded and layered sounds, catchy vocals and hook-friendly songs fueled by strong attitude. Daniel Guenther's impressive production, songwriting and engineering skills are gracefully complemented by Charlene April's smooth and candid vocals and well thought out lyrics. Their influences are probably as comprehensive and eclectic as today's open-minded listeners' and the both of them even have the looks, which means they'd probably be ready for something bigger at this very moment in time. The shadow of the electronic music scene is backing them up. In this album you'll find remixes by Blank, Null Device, Neuroactive and a cover of 1981's "Shout" by Depoche Mode. Potential hit singles would probably be the opening track "Golden Glass" and maybe a few tunes could do very well in and around the international dancefloor scene too. Basically it is a well-made and sufficiently multifaceted album, capable of satisfying the dancing, the chilling, the romantic, the relaxing and even, why not, the easy listening fan. Very well done indeed." --Marc 'the MEMORY Man' Urselli-Schaerer, Chain D.L.K.

DJ Eurotic
"Whether it be Charlene's soulful vocals or Daniel's tight, accomplished programming, Blind Faith and Envy's "The Charming Factor" brings equal parts old school and modern synth/EBM to create a uniquely powerful debut album that most artists cannot parallel even after several efforts. Smooth melodies, sensual lyrics, and beats galore, BF/E's aural feast pulls you in and won't let you go. Fans of such bands as L'ame Immortelle, The Azoic, Depeche Mode, and classic new wavers 'Til Tuesday will relish this fresh voice on the electronic landscape. " --Matt Fanale/DJ Eurotic, Deadbeat Productions

Collected Sounds
Nilaihah records never ceases to impress us with their amazing roster of artists. They keep the music coming with a new group, Blind Faith and Envy.
"Golden Glass" being a great opening track, is a great example of the excellent well-crafted songs that we've come to expect.

"She's Left in Silence" my personal favorite, has a more ethereal vibe to it, proving that the music, as well as Charlene's crystalline vocals, can provide varied soundscapes that are always fresh.

There are also some bonus remixes by Blank, Null Device, and Neuroactive which all give songs like "Crowded Room" and "Major Philosopher" slightly different identities.

I encourage fans of Nilaihah and new wave fans alike to check out Blind Faith and Envy, as they do a superior job of blending many different genres into one great album. - Sarah Bernardi of Collected Sounds

The City Morgue
"The Charming Factor" is the debut from this synthpop duo, and the sound here is evident in the phrasing of the title - charming. While a few dance mixes are included, Blind Faith and envy are rather relaxed, aiming more for the sound found in those eighties predecessors than that of the current synth movement. Here tracks like the woodwind flavored "Slightest Wave" echo an era that had figureheads like Depeche Mode, but with a few modern tricks, synths, and beats that don't let one forget the modern futurepop haze. In fact, Depeche Mode is even covered here with a remake of the venerable Clarke-era "Shout", which feels more like an update with female vocals, than a total revision. The opener, "Golden Glass" also bears this influence, but with some trip-hop languor spicing up its sultry beat. Vaguely, it gives me deja vu as I ponder comparisons between it and recent Collide. "Stand Me Relentless" is perhaps the most modern moment here; building from a light bass beat, it deftly strips and integrates keys and electronic structures, ending in a rather pleasant ballad denouement. While ending their recordings in a rather Tori Amos influenced quiet piano and voice duet, the disc then segues over to the remixes.

As far the remixes go, two out of three are quite excellent. Both Blank and Null Device completely reworked the rather mellow "Crowded Room" into an entirely different animal. While Blank add stark EBM to their version by way of heavy bass bludgeoning and stiletto synth strikes, Null Device spelunk deeply into the world of goa trance with a haze of rhythm and the subtle yet awesome addition of looped hand drumming. The other contribution by Neuroactive is adequate, but doesn't add much to the pop and strut of the original version of "Major Philosopher". However, Blank and Null Device excellently round out this disc, and give the listener breathing room and energy to pair with the rather enchanting dreamy pop of Blind Faith and Envy. -- Vladimir McNeally, The City Morgue

DJ Null
"A unique voice in electronic pop, BFE knows that it takes more than just sweet vocals to distinguish themselves from the vast sea of cookie-cutter dance acts. Consistantly catchy melodies, clever lyrics, and rock-solid programming and production earmark this band as one to watch." --Eric Oehler, DJ Null

Scotland Yard
"This one gets my vote for number one... The production is excellent and the vocals are on par with the mood and melody. The melody keeps your attention and isn't lost in the production." -- Scotland Yard, Newport Beach, CA

UpSwing
[The] synth and percussion grabbed me right from the start. Originality is the key, and you have it. [The] production is interesting, performance is strong, and arrangement is excellent." -UpSwing, Bathurst, Australia

Re/Volt Magazine
Rating out of 4: 3

Blind Faith And Envy are the latest (but doubtless not the last) synthpop band to come out of the USA & on this, their debut album the duo of Charlene April & Daniel Guenther prove they do have something worthwhile to add to the genre. Their sound takes on board elements of superior synthpop bands such as Neuroactive (who fittingly contribute a remix that fits in perfectly with the album as a whole) & The Echoing Green while, in April they have a most talented vocalist whose strong voice, which is similar to Swarf's Liz Green in places, soon proves to be the perfect accompaniment to their harder-edged style on the opening "Golden Glass" which gets the album off to a cracking start as well as "Crowded Room" & "When I Know You're Gone" which all benefit from excellent choruses & the dancey "Stand Me Relentless". Their cover of DM's "Shout" starts off showing a similar degree of promise although the vocals promote a feel that is so different from the original I'm wondering if certain hardcore Mode fans will see it as a brave attempt at something different or outright heresy!! And talking of something different, the superb instrumental "Texture" slows things right down with a mellow feel similar to Moby's "Porceline" with some superb laid-back piano leads although the rhythms do pick up somewhat towards the end while the ballad "She Left In Silence" is an uplifting combo of excellent piano, strings & angelic heavently voices, not at all twee but a rather lovely way to finish the album, leaving only the dancey remixes from Blank, who turn "Crowded Room" into a lightening-paced techno/trance affair & labelmates Null Device give the same track the Goa treatment. I was actually pleasantly suprised by Blind Faith And Envy; true, they may not the most original band in the world (but then who is?) but they are definately one of the best synthpop newcomers. Highly recommended.

Carl Jenkinson

Wetworks electrozine
"The Charming Factor" is the impressive debut from the new female fronted act Blind Faith and Envy. Mixing parts of EBM and Electronica, Blind Faith and Envy posses the necessary skills and musicianship to create well-crafted songs full of soulful vocals, clever lyrics and topnotch production. I absolutely adore the vocals of singer Charlene. She sings with a confidence and maturity that a lot of other acts lack in the early stages of their career. Just take a listen to the excellent tracks "Something Different" and the driving "Stand Me Relentless" to see what I'm talking about.

"The Charming Factor" is exactly that, a charming, poppy, electronica album full of great songs and even greater vocals. Besides the regular tracks, you'll find remixes from Blank, Null Device, Neuroactive and a cover of 1981's "Shout" by Depeche Mode. A very strong debut for this newcomer and highly recommended.

By GunHed @ Wetworks electrozine

Gothic Beauty Magazine
Comprised of Charlene April and Daniel Guenther, Blind Faith and Envy combines eloquent lyrics, creative mixing and unique vocals to create fabulous compositions with a notable Depeche Mode influence. The recommended track list on this album is immense. There's something for everyone here! Admittedly, the hopeless romantic in me fell for "Slightest Wave", as well as the charming and sincere, "Something Different," and the great instrumental, "Texture." The lyrics on 'The Charming Factor' are definitely what makes it a standout album. Make sure to catch, "When I Know You're Gone" and their stellar cover of DM's "Shout." (Not to be confused with the Tears for Fears song!) Skip ahead to track 31 for bonus remixes by Blank, Null Device and Neuroactive. Catchy stuff!

Jessika @ Gothic Beauty Magazine - Issue #11

Side-Line Magazine summer 2004
The Charming Factor is the debut from this synthpop duo, and the sound captured is evident within the phrasing of the album's title - charming. While a few dance mixes are included, Blind Faith and Envy themselves have a rather serene sound that is more akin to the eighties-era predecessors than the current synthpop movement. For example, the woodwind-augmented "Slightest Wave" echoes an era that had figureheads like Depeche Mode, but with a few modern hooks that don't let the listener forget the modern futurepop movement. In fact, Depeche Mode's venerable Clarke-era "Shout" is covered, though it feels more like an update with female vocals than a total revision. The opener, "Golden Glass" also bears this influence, but with some trip-hop languor spicing up its sultry beat. "Stand Me Relentless" is perhaps the most modern movement here; building from a light bass beat, it deftly strips and integrates keys and electronic structures, and ends in a pleasant ballad denouement. As far as the remixes are concerned,two are quite excellent. Both blank and Null Device completely rework the rather mellow "Crowded Room" into an entirely different animal. While Blank add stark EBM by way of heavy bass bludgeoning and stiletto synthesizer strikes, Null Device spelunk deeply into the world of goa trance with a haze of rhythm and the blissfully subtle addition of world beat drumming.

Vlad M. for Side-Line Magazine

Side-Line Magazine fall 2004
Just like The Azoic, BFAE has been licensed to Infacted Recordings for the European market. This album contains exactly the same songs and tracklists as the album on Nilaihah Records, so there's no bonus for the young fans of the band. I'm not considering myself as a die-hard fan, but the sound of BFAE deeply impressed me! Their music has been for sure influenced by the 80s electropop movement and its probably not a coincidence if they made a cover version of Depeche Mode's "Shout". It's for sure one of the single songs, which didn't impress me more than that! The best way to discover the potential of BFAE is to pay some attention for one of their absolute masterpieces entitled "Slightest Wave". This is an incredible cut full of outstanding arrangements and some great 80s spirit, which comes to recover to whole track. BFAE composes compelling and original structures, which are much more than inspired by the 80s. They possess a kind of singular way of writing while the vocal performance of Charlene April is hot hot hot! This girl has a natural way of singing, which is now and then combined by some sad moods. The "Major Philosopher"-song is an excellent illustration of this duality betwen sensuality and melancholia. A next essential element of this band is the power of the rhythmic. We're not very used to hear synth-pop bands experimenting with complex drum patterns, but there's an overwhelming wave of power emerging from the rhythmic! In a harder and definitely danceable way, the "When I Know You're Gone"-song contains a carrying chorus and real cool bass line. I think there's a lot to say about this debut-opus, which is according to me more than successful. It's just that it will be not easy, dealing with such a popular style of music to break through! Anyway, this band gets my total support!

Stephane Froidcoeur for Side-Line Magazine

A Different Drum
Another excellent debut album with sharp, edgy electronic and melodic, convincing female vocals. Kind of dark, but without being too "goth".

Todd Durrant @ A Different Drum

 


back to Blind Faith and Envy - The Charming Factor