The Fair Sex: "Fine. We Are Alive" Reviews

The Fair Sex is getting a little harder. But The Fair Sex's fine pop sensibilities shine through on their most recent domestic release: Fine. We Are Alive, live recordings from the 1993-94 German tour and unreleased studio tracks. A perfect mix of late 90's aggression with more than a bow to 80's electro and New Wave, Fine. We Are Alive sends you back to a place where industrial music was as much about melody and rhythm as it was about how cool your samples were and how daemonic you could make your voice sound. I dig the sense of nostalgia you get listening to The Fair Sex, cause it's completely false. I like Eat Me a lot, it's funky without being bluesy and hard without being metal. There is also a new remix of Outraged And Moved. - Melpomene, Cyberia Magazine

The latest release from the Fair Sex is actually a number of years old: over half of the record consists of live recordings from a series of 1993 concert dates, with the remainder being unreleased studio material whose recording dates are unknown. (A hint may lie in the copyright dates on the disc itself - "1992 Rough Trade/ 1997 Van Richter". This CD brings out something which has gone relatively unnoticed in their earlier releases - their stuff has a definite new wave feel to it, especially on the live tracks where the guitars (their stage line-up features two of them) are much more predominant. Tracks such as "The Pain That No-One Knows" is downright poppy, despite its raspy vocals - sort of Flock of Seagulls meets the Cars. The guitars on "Soulspirit" and "No Excuse" are very familiar to those of us who remember the early eighties video onslaught, and there's nothing inherently wrong with this. The retro sound to these years has become very trendy, and in all honesty, good pop muzik (whether performed au natural or with an electro undertone, as is the case here) never truly goes out of style. The studio tracks have the guitars mixed more to the rear, with the synths creating more dominant rhythm textures. The new wave sensibilities are still present, but its electro crosscurrents are more evident. The best examples of the studio efforts are "Outraged and Moved - Floor Egad" and "Fat Bellie's Hunger". This CD is obviously intended for Fair Sex's established fan base, and cannot be recommended for novices looking for a place to start. For that, we would suggest their earlier studio efforts. For the rest of us, we still have to wait for what will truly be the band's follow-up to "Machine Bites" and "Labyrinth". - Michael Mahan, DIGIZINE
Essen Germay's The Fair Sex have released a decent collection of songs via a live performance albeit from a few years ago. There are also four previously unreleased tracks and a : 19 second sound bite ending the disc. "The Pain That No-One Knows" is by far the best track here,showcasing the energy of the band's live performances. Overall the effect of the synth and guitars bouncing off one another is excellent. Another memorable song is "Fat Bellies Hunger", a spirited ditty that will make you shake your booty even if you don't want to. There's definately a different sound here than most of the droll sounds of recent months. It has an 80's feel without outdated or retro. I recommend "Fine. We Are Alive" - Miles Black, Monday Magazine
Great Electro - Industrial dance. Cool beats layered with great keyboard sequences, guitars, and samples. Should please all not excessively hard edged but hard enough! - Isolation Tank
Are those live cymbals I hear? Why yes Fine. We Are Alive is the recounting of The Fair Sex's dance music career, with half the tracks from live performances. The crisp sequences and pounding beats are the items that work the best. There are a number of good songs presented here. - Sandman, Outburn Magazine
Whether you call them electro, industrial, or Electronic Body Music, there's no doubt that The Fair Sex are one of the originals. Hailing from the appropriately industrial German town of Essen , they started out in '85 when industrial meant Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Dept., with nary a poppy keyboard line within earshot. But since establishing themselves in the Skinny Puppy mold, they have not shifted one iota. At least not as far as we can tell, since their new album like their first U.S. release "Machine Bites" is a collection of old songs dated back to before their last album, "Labyrinth". This is strictly formula stuff, a soundscape created by drum programs and staccato keyboard lines, enlivened by the thunderous arrival of giant slabs of distorted guitar which like most T. Rexes in The Lost World just sit there and roar. The best track "No Excuse" is a poppier more melodic tune that gives the band's darkness more breathing room. But overall, what this album longs for is a breath of fresh air. Fine you are alive. Now give us some new material. - Dave Kendall, Bikini Magazine
My opinion is that it is very detailed programming, an old-school style, Ogre-ish vocals (there is a SKINNY PUPPY song on here...which hopefully will create an awarness of this great band. This old school industrial sound kicks ass on the 90's electronica.... don't you think ? - Elektrik Transfusion E Zine
Don't let the name fool you. The members of this European quintet kick loud metal and punk tinged industrial strength ass. The 11 songs ,some previously unreleased studio tracks, some recorded live at clubs in Germany and Czechoslovakia in 93',combine clever industrial rhythms and sounds with raw heavy guitarwork, bass and loud aggressive,expressive vocals. Check out the enthused audience reaction to "A body with a Mind'. "House of Unkinds" is monstrous. "Outraged and Moved' is angry and extremely cool. "Soulspirit: Antifascism" is very spirited. "No Excuse" , "The Pain that No- One knows" and "Eat Me" have pleasing elements of punk,metal and techno. "Thats it(and thats all)" recalls early NIN in places. This is one of the best industrial genre recordings I've ever heard because of the emotion behind it- its not just mindless noise and because of the blending of the musical styles its heavy,danceable and fun to hear. SASE to Van Richter Records, 100 S. Sunrise Way Suite 219, Palm Springs, CA 92262 - Brynn McKenna, BallBuster Magazine
This album consists of live tracks from the 93/94 tour plus five unreleased tracks. Good industrial music! The production of the live cuts is amazing. The songs I enjoyed were Shelter,The Pain that No One knows and That's it. - LS, Black Moon Magazine
Until now, the only work that I known from this band was their classic "Not Here, Not Now". "Fine. We are Alive" is a collection of live tracks, plus unreleased studio track. The live sound is pretty well with just enough crowd to add power, but I don't know enough their song to make a difference between their live and studio sound. The only thing that I can say, is that this really similar to Alien Sex Fiend live with more electronics. "That's it (and that's all)" brings us a real early Wax Trax sound put more polish, with a catchy refrain sequence. "Eat me" is certainly my favorite track of this CD, cool pulsing beat with energic, non-distort vocals and few guitars riffs. Overall, this release should blessed Noth American The Fair Sex's fans due to the unreleased tracks. The Fair Sex are: Blonder, MYK, Murdock, L'o, Rascal. - Final Man @ Electroage
In the early '80s The Fair Sex helped infiltrate dark techno into the mins of mainstream European culture. Along with Front 242 and the Canadians (Skinny Puppy,Front Line Assembly), The Fair Sex earned a reputation for merging the angry energy of metal with the somber angst of EBM. They had a couple of hits, namely "Not Now, Not Here" and "You Know How", but the German electro band disappeared for a while. Now they are back with their third full-length album, a mixture of live and studio recordings. Their live version of the Puppy style "House of Unkinds" sounds almost nostalgic, and Myk Jung's vocals strain to push past the reminiscing. The dance hit "Outraged and Moved" will take you back a few years, but I think that's one of the great things about this album. Rascal Nikov aka Blonder has great fun with his dance floor bass lines and the clink-clink of the old fashioned digital keys. The machine-gun guitar of Moses W. recalls the era before Ministry and NIN made technorock a formula for success. I fear that as a breakthrough album, Fine We are Alive will not take the US by storm. American kids have all but forgotten Puppy, and many of them erroneously believe Trent Reznor invented the "industrial" genre. The Fair Sex by comparison sounds trapped in a classic era where time seems to have stopped. - Da5id, Voltage Magazine
Well, let's get the explanation upfront. This CD features six live tracks and five (really four the last track is 19 seconds long) unreleased studio tracks. One wonders if their is much of a point to this. A live CD worked well for Front Line Assembly last year, but does it translate well for a German act in a presumably European venue? Well let's see. You can hear all the people in the audience at the intros, and the vocal work is strong. The Fair Sex has impressed me in the past with their studio material, and these live tracks are just as good. We come to the studio tracks, which fortunately don't sound like outakes from previous CDs. I was really hoping to find some hidden gems on the disc and there are many including "Eat Me" and the seminal club track "Outraged and Moved". Chalk this one up to a visionary endeavor. Highly recommended - Tabb Hunter, D Culture Magazine

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