The paradigm shift in the Alter Der Ruine template could not have come at a better time. With bands like Purity Ring and Grimes stirring up the alternative scene with ethereal eeriness, and Mr.Kitty and Trust resurrecting gloomy synthesizer tropes from years past, I Will Remember It All Differently’s arrival is another sign of the shifting tide.
The Tucson band’s latest album is in stark contrast to their powernoise material, favoring melodic and clean songwriting over crunchy beats and sonic blasts. Opening track “Lights” is distant, cold, and marked with a bleak kind of beauty. The two dance-centric tracks on the record, “Horizon Slide” and “Poltergeist,” conduct four-on-the-floor with heavy bass and deep programming, the latter distinguished by vocalist Mike Treveloni’s obtuse vocalizing and the former by the haunted piano riff that gallops through the song’s chorus and outro.
The album’s middle tracks, “Gift Horse” and “Will We Tear You Apart?,” remain the highlights. “Gift Horse” is a slow burn of weary verses and a desperate plea of a chorus, shifting between minimal bass and bracing, sparse keys backed by a hollow wind of sound. After the climax, it drifts away with Treveloni’s tragic repetition of “I disappear.” “Will We Tear You Apart?” has an uncomfortably mellow presence, the synths and beats holding back an explosive rage and the paranoid lyrics expressing the fight between the self and a higher moral guidance.
I Will Remember It All Differently represents the culmination of several years’ worth of reconciliation with demons among the trio of Mike Treveloni and Mike and Tamara Jenney. The trials and tribulations are symbolized by often-elusive lyricism that suggests more than it insists. Even when the wording veers into territory that isn’t immediately decipherable, the passion with which Treveloni sings is undeniable, whether he is declaring boldly or choking through teary whimpers.
This album is the definitive turning point of the band. Like Violator set the standard for Depeche Mode, I Will Remember It All Differently sets a high new standard for all future Alter Der Ruine releases. The crystal-clear, chilly production, masterful balance between dark dance and tasteful experimentalism, and deeply personal lyrics establish this record as a game changer for any band of any genre. It has few peers in the competition for album of the year.