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Vanish
Vanish
Offered by SourceMediaUK
Price: £2.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bombay Monkey- 130 Astronauts LP Review (7.5/10), 5 Aug 2008
This review is from: Vanish (Audio CD)
`130 Monkeys' is the latest release by Bombay Monkey and is the third in a trilogy of four parts following `Vanish' (2005) and `Time Travellers' (2006). Themed loosely around space, `130 Astronauts' writhes with a quirky and leftfield `space-dialogue' charm plundered so fondly by cult acts such as Coldcut and Dimension X. Featuring a host of guests including Rosko John, Mr Thing, Red Eye, Sound Sanctuary and The Origamis, `130 Astronauts' was recorded at their own studio located on a very old farm in the Ashdown Forest. Utilising a hardened work-ethic and an old-skool ideology, Bombay Monkey have established a unique way of making music- avoid computers as much as possible, never use pre-sets and keep tracks short. Add to this the fact that classic vinyl and old television provide their biggest source of inspiration, leading to a sound that faithfully pitches the classics into the throes of a contemporised groove, and a live-show that showcases custom built visuals created from vintage and contemporary film clips and fresh animations.

With such a diverse appetite for sound and spoken word, Bombay Monkey blend their influences into one giant melting pot of sound. A sound that could so easily be lost in an unfocused blur of ill-fitting beats and unmelodious ceremony instead throbs with an enigmatic vivacity. Like Lemon Jelly running into an inebriated Mr Scruff at an Avalanches concert, Bombay Monkey churn out a fun and enthusiastic summer-time sound that reverberates with a cool retro-kitsch. Fusing the improbable, Bombay Monkey mesh surf guitars with 70's soul-grooves and classic sun-scorched Spanish vocal samples to funkadelic effect on tracks like `Istanbul Dub' and `Cha Cha Chaaa'. The spooky ball-room waltz and subtly crafted micro-jungle bassline warpage of `Soldiers of the Sun' makes for an exquisite `Billie Holiday' meets `Technical Itch' piece whilst `'Can You Transform?'s' barrage of spoken word and captivating crooning crumble fetchingly over a mellow soundscape of rolling melodies and cut'n'paste scratching. The introduction of Rosko John towards the end of the album totally makes you rethink what you are listening to as glistening folk-rock melodies drift effortlessly below Rosko John's tender vocal spread on the spectral `Head In The Clouds' and `Try Again'.

Staying true to their influences, `Bombay Monkey' successfully reconstruct and project them into their own vision- mixing the past with the present and the organic with the chemical. A great album for the summer-time pre-festival lull and a perfect precursor to the new Mr Scruff album dropping this fall. (KS) *This review refers to the forthcomming full length of the same name*

For fans of: Lemon Jelly, Mr Scruff, DJ Format


In the Am [12" VINYL]
In the Am [12" VINYL]

4.0 out of 5 stars Shelleyan Orphan- We Have Everything We Need LP (7.5/10), 2 Aug 2008
This review is from: In the Am [12" VINYL] (Vinyl)
Shelleyan Orphan's first new album in 16 years comes at a time where alternative-folk is riding a heady wave of popularity across Europe and the States. Formed in Bournemouth in 1983 by Caroline Crawley and Jem Taylor, the duo eventually signed to Rough Trade in 1985. Brought together by their love of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and combining their love of all musical genres, they created an unusual blend of pop, utilising a full range of classical instruments including some obscure instruments (Strumento da Porca, Tamboura). Coupling this with their obscure and wide-ranging influences (Sparks, Delius, Joy Division) theirs was a sound that was unique in the British scene of the late 80's and early 90's. After their lengthy hiatus, the duo (along with a host of instrumentalists and international orchestra's) has created a piece of art that takes their early influences and expands them across a contemporary spectrum. Bringing into play elements of rock, pop, Americana, trip-hop and folk and arranging them into grandiose spectacles, Shelleyan Orphan are an entirely new proposition to behold.

With its subtle trip-hop aesthetic, `How a Seed is Sown' features distorted guitars and heavy percussion that provide a skeletal rock energy to the sweeping strings and smoky yet graceful vocals that elongate with a soothing and drift-worthy characteristic. On the darkly tantalizing Scandinavian-esque mystery-tale charm of `Judas', Shelleyan Orphan drive forward with lush orchestral instrumentation that glitters with an eerie resonance whilst the tender vocals disperse vapor-like, syllables hanging high in the noir-ish atmosphere. From the upbeat jangly folk-steeped Americana of `Something Pulled Me' through to the tension soaked somberness of `Host' and the sugary pop-folk of `Your Shoes', Shelleyan Orphan deliver a wide palette of emotions through their sound. This diversity can serve to divide listener's opinions and make for a fragmented album, then again, its versatility can make the album appeal to a wider audience and every listen can reveal a new favourite depending on one's mood.

Whist 16 years is a long time to wait, Shelleyan Orphan have returned with a sound that places Caroline's and Jem's uniquely beautiful vocals at the forefront and props them up with arrangements that, as well as being more diverse, are more calculated, mature and patient. As a reward to patient fans, a winter tour is planned and a 4CD/DVD box set is also due out featuring all four albums, a bonus disc of unreleased music and a DVD. (KS)


Slime And Reason
Slime And Reason
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £5.00

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roots Manuva- Slime & Reason LP Review (8.5/10), 30 July 2008
This review is from: Slime And Reason (Audio CD)
South London's finest Rooty-Toot Maunva (aka Rodney Smith) is back with his fourth and most varied album yet. 3 years since his last release proper, Roots Manuva has shown he is an artist who hasn't been afraid to experiment with his sound, implementing a host of influences from the classic roots-reggae to electro; analogue dub to rocksteady funk. His ability to fuse these base elements into a product that is undeniably his own has led to his music being instantly recognisable, what with the warping dub-plates and skanking electroid melodics. Add to this his sharp, patois-tinged, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that address issues from the music industry to urban society, gal-dem to relationships, and you have the proof behind why Roots is deservedly one of the UK's biggest hip-hop stars.

With `Slime & Reason', Roots ability to craft catchy skeletal melodies out of fractured beats and warped sonic's has reached a new level. From the entrancing Dr Dre meets Burial tuneage of `The Show Must Go On' to the analog synth-attack of `It's Me Oh Lord' he injects a danceable aesthetic into already animated soundscapes. The superhero leftfield jazz-hop of `Well Alright' is like The Herbaliser meets a stripped down Cinematic Orchestra at a New Flesh concert, whilst the sidewinding 8-bit melody and out-of-sync bass burble of `Do 4 Self' proves to be an entrancing backing to Roots energetic and on-point flowage. Not content to rest on his laurels, Roots injects a wider range of Caribbean-influences into his sound, influences which are distorted and molded into the playful yet focused Manuva aesthetic. `Again + Again' is playfully ruptured calypso complete with rastafied Elephant Man-esque flows whilst `Buff Nuff' is a dirty piece of pounding bashment designed for mega-bumper shakage with its repetitively engaging choral section and fluttering tribal percussion. On `Let The Spirit', he carves out a wonderfully tranced-out 90's arcade-game synth and burbling bass oozes to create a dark and progressive instrumental for his powerful vocals.

Roots Manuva's previous albums have been (ever-so-slightly) blighted by some lazy word-play as in some tracks his flows have been less than rhythmic and are reduced down to talking pace, thus not triggering off any energy. With `Slime & Reason', his verbage is perfectly aligned to the beatscapes, accelerating and decelerating with the beats to create smooth-flowing energy as well as consistency. This alongside the matured arrangements and (trademark) warm analog production techniques have led to a lavish and challenging album which is sure to delight fans of old and invite newcomers. Although there is no epic stand-out track like `Motion 5000', the release ultimately proves to be an extremely consistent long-player which continually impresses with its exciting variety, meticulously crafted and interesting beatscapes and focused, tongue-in cheek rhyming. (AM)

For fans of: The Herbaliser, New Flesh for Old, Skinnyman


Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh
Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh
Price: £13.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh- s/t LP Review (8.5/10), 22 July 2008
You are very lucky to be hearing this album as it was almost not made. Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh- both multi-instrumentalists who have collaborated with the likes of leftfield A-Lister's such as Ghost, Fursaza and Espers, met at a festival in the US in 2006. Staying in contact afterwards, Helena suggested an improvised music collaboration but Batoh was too busy stating that "if my idols Moondog, Henry Cowell or Toru Takemitus wanted me, I'll refuse their orders". A change of heart by Batoh and a desire to record songs as well as improvisations led to this finished piece.

Comprising of the reconstruction of six traditional Swedish songs along with a number of other reconstructions, the duo utilised an expansive range of instrumentation and enlisted the help of fellow Ghost members Takuyuki Moriya (contra bass), Kazuo Ogino (piano, celtic harp) and Mayumi Nagayoshi (santur). With such a range of instruments and influences, the result is nothing short of breathtaking, fusing the ethereal Swedish sound with eerie remnants of classical Shogun-era Japan. Playing this album in the early evening throws of a sunlit Sunday evening brought an immediate sense of this fairytale magic and lo-fi enchantment, its leftfield avant-folk musings being as ethereal and as natural as the breeze.

Utilising an aggregate of traditional folk compositions and glistening post-rock, the duo (and friends) inject a magical sense of psychedelica to concoct a dreamlike atmosphere that totally sucks you in. The tracks on this one-off release are progressively structured and ramble off into a self-imagined hinterland but this does not mean that it lacks focus. Quite the contrary infact, the music is executed with a sharp sense of direction, the lush spread of instruments and strong production combining to tingle the senses. Sounding like a less fragmented Charalambides meets a subdued Origami Arktika, the album rides with a heady pulse and subtle deftness of composition. From its extended instrumental soundscapes that score imaginary journeys through deep Scandanavian forests that gleam with a Midnight moon-glow (check `Uti Vår Hage'), to otherworldly, round-the-fire lullabies that soar high up into the cosmos, relieving you of the shackles of the outside world, the sounds on this disc transport you far away from wherever you may be.

The brief opener hints at the international scope and great depth of the album- the psychedelic babble of the hurdy-gurdy and ominous low-frequency audio-bombs evoking a pre-battle Eastern landscape. On tracks such as `Neko Nemurenai', unhurried and uncomplicated guitar melodies meander freely, suspended in a thick and dense atmospheric that turns dark and dreamlike. `Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa' is the sound of angels floating freely across an `Alice in Wonderland' screenscape with Espvall's double-layered vocals flowing honey-like over simple folk-guitar melodies. Sounding a bit like a score to Swiss Family Robinson if they dined on hash-cakes, the unique `Kling Klang' takes this vocal prowess and effective layering techniques in a new direction. Its tingling free-folk guitar melodies providing a supernatural platform for Espvall's almost yodel-like vocals. `Kyklopes' signals the incoming storm clouds with its deep resonant strings spurts and forlorn splutters of natural sound. The weeping strings continue majestically into the next track, elongating over a plump and inviting bed of contra bass and disorientatingly beautiful Celtic harp.

With this self titled release, Espvall and Batoh prove why they are such special musicians, bringing together the strongest elements of their distinguished experience to create an entity which has their own unique stamp all over it. Soft, subtle and dexterous, there is great emotion reflected in the improvisations provided on this release and such a great depth and beauty that you will find it impossible not to drift away into this score to an uncharted hinterland. (KS)

For fans of:Origami Arktika, Charalambides, Stars of The Lid, Six Organs of Admittance, Guru & Zero meets post-funeral Boris


Dodovoodoo
Dodovoodoo
Price: £23.07

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars elephant9 -Dodovoodoo LP Review (8.9/10), 19 July 2008
This review is from: Dodovoodoo (Audio CD)
The early Seventies was one of the most exciting times for music. Building on the psychedelic foundations of the late Sixties and the ever exciting Jazz sound, a new breed of bands came about which held the values of instrumental ability above image. Fusing the grooving, head-nodding world of rock with the complex and turbulent world of jazz led to some of the most inspired and thought-provoking music of the last century yet here we are in 2008 with a release that harks back to the early Seventies heyday. Already a firm favourite on the Norwegian scene, the trio of Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Humcrush), Nikolai Eilertsen (The National Bank) and Torstein Lofthus (Shining), finally deliver their long-awaited debut album, `Dodovoodoo'.

Riding upon a heady wave of `best-of-breed' Seventies jazz-rock fusion, elephant9 inject a buoyant energy into a complex and technically proficient sound that is laced with delicious melodics. The title track Dodovoodoo totally captures the style and sound of this album. Launching straight into a heady brew of jarring Rhodes melodies and stormy drums, elephant9 rocket straight off into a Seventies cosmic-dream, but one that is riddled with turbulence. The swirling-psyche sound of Seventies luminaries and space-jazz explorers such as Herbie Hancock, Sun-Ra, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Billy Cobham are fully embraced. In fact, a listen to this recording without any artist information will more than likely have your mind scouring through a library of early Seventies artists rather than 2008 Norway! `I Cover the Mountain Top' demonstrates the three-piece's ability to counter subtle atmospherics with rocking psyche. It produces a sound that regales in the melancholy majesty of Third era `Soft Machine' thanks to its winding, ultra-mellow Fender Rhodes, but morphs into ecstatic Weather Report heavy-fusion that grinds with a mind-spinning electric-rock groove.

The middle section of the album takes a break from the dizzying fusion sound and moves into ethereal territory as `Hymne' charts the nomadic expeditions of hammond organ melodies across baron audio-rustlings and percussive sparks. It's not long before that liquid groove and angular jazz melody return to lift you into the cosmos. `Doctor Honoris Causa' features brooding, deep-bass that rolls perpetually whilst complemented by three dimensional Rhodes and tinglingly sharp percussion to create a stunning effect. Gear slips into delicate free-jazz territory form an all-encompassing atmosphere that drags you in deeper and deeper- the soundscape never relenting and refusing to release you from its subtle, yet commanding clutch. The closer `Directions' is a glitchy and gloomy, yet multi-colored, jazzscape complete with warm melodic arcs that ooze over the bristly landscape like honey over a roaming thorn bush. A fittingly dynamic and complex conclusion to an album that has delivered so much.

If you're a fan of the Seventies jazz-rock fusion era and wish to be lifted away far far away from recession-prone, credit-crunched world outside then you can do no better than `Dodovoodoo'. (KS)

For fans of:Heavy fusion-era Soft Machine, Electronic-era Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2013 3:26 PM GMT


The Gathering
The Gathering
Price: £5.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living Legends- The Gathering EP Review (7.5/10), 13 July 2008
This review is from: The Gathering (Audio CD)
Consisting of a weighty quota of 8 MC's, each of whom feature on every track, `Living Legends' is something of an underground super-group project. Consisting of Murs, The Grouch, Luckyiam, Eligh, Scarub, Sunsport Jonz, Aesop and Bicasso, the octet carve out a collection of songs highlighted by a socially conscious anthem for peace but underpinned by a keen motivation to move the crowd with heavy bangers, catchy hooks and fire spitting verses.

With such a supreme team of rappers featuring on each track, there is a constant variation with each rapper providing a new angle and new energy to already buoyant beatscapes which flair with the melodic resonance of 2008's highly charged urban atmosphere. Cutting the tracks over at Encore Studio (Dr Dre's The Chronic 2001, Eminem Marshall Mathers LP, etc.) the beatcrafting is assuredly slick. Produced by Grammy nominated Mike Lazer (Gnarls Barkely's `St Elsewhere') the weighty kicks, sharp snares, plump melodies and warping synths take on an analogue feel and all exist in their own individual spheres, thus creating a warm and commercially influenced sound.

The cuts on `The Gathering' cover a broad range of styles. From the jazz-influenced smoky-grooves of `After Hours' , the tribal percussives of `Samba' and the potential chart-botherer `Pants on Fire', the super-group project an assured sense of capability and an envious, sub-genre panning range. Utilising a similar set of instrumental tools that were found on Dr Dre's 2001, `Pants on Fire' takes the Cali sound and contemporises it with a night-time, melancholic gloss. Complete with a captivating choral section and on-form verbage, the track grinds over a psychedelically warping spine that features subtle piano melodies and dark quaser effects. With bars like "demolition crews blew up the World Trade", the delicately arranged and politically themed `War & Peace' will have your ears sharpened to the conscious lyrics being spit whilst `Luva Changer' takes a completely different direction, nodding towards a soul-hop sound that writhes with an late 90's aesthetic.

Across its 32 minutes, the 7 track deep `The Gathering' acts as an appetizing precursor to a full length that will drop towards the end of 2008. The meticulously crafted and supremely produced beats are executed with a keen sense of commercial-minded creed which when combined with a host of on-form rappers makes this EP an extremely tasty proposition. (AM)

For fans of: Detox era Dre meets J-Live at an Atmosphere gig


Max Richter: 24 Postcards
Max Richter: 24 Postcards
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £8.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Max Richter- 24 Postcards in Full Colour LP Review (8/10), 6 July 2008
'24 Postcards in Full Colour' is the latest and most conceptually experimental release by Edinburgh-based pianist/composer Max Richter. Following on from the radiant and haunting electronica steeped neo-classical compositions of his previous three albums, '24 Postcards...' is a release that breaks down this much vaunted electro-acoustic formula into a varied collection of evocative miniatures, each offering a glimpse into potentially much larger pieces.

'24 Postcards....' is an attempt to explore the ringtone as a vehicle for musical performance and as such, the album contains 24 tracks ranging from 60 seconds to just under 3 minutes. Richter's intention is to premiere the work in various gallery spaces where pre-registered audience members receive SMS messages which results in the playing-back of one or more of the tracks. Indeed, this is an ambitious and cleverly thought-through affair that should be witnessed and must be applauded, but is it any good musically? Well, yes! Richter carves out simple yet evocative snippets of deliciously suggestive classical compositions which arc and gleam with a majestic quality. Similar, both in style and length to a score for a classy film like American Beauty, Richter utilises an orchestra of 9 and a limited palette of instrumentation that consists of string quintet; solo piano; 16 track 2 inch tape; transistors; found shortwave radio; vinyl clicks and acoustic guitars. From this, a clean and melodic sound is born, one that fully amplifies the resonant quality of the instrumental tones but complements it with a brooding and occasionally jilted industrial ambience.

Throughout, delicious liquid piano melodies bob hypnotically like distant waves and elongated strings echo with melancholy forlornness to create rich and harmonious textures that transport you to landscapes unknown yet never feared. The variation in '24 Postcards' has to be praised. The mournful strings making up `This Picture of Us' bob and sway with rich harmony and vivid texture, moving the listener closer to a parallel universe where dreams reign supreme. Further on, `A Sudden Manhattan of the Mind' comes across like a requiem to a cargo-ship lost at sea, the imaginary camera panning around in the murky, sub-aqua terrain to catch a glimpse of a rusting hull. Proceedings take a twist with `In Louiseville At 7', which echoes the works of Ninja Tune's electro-folk pioneer, Fog, thanks to its presentation of a cut-up background of vocals and shifting frequencies that grace a plaintive yet upbeat passage of meandering melody.

Sure the cut up nature of the album will put some off, and sure, the same tracks welded into a lengthy composition would have been more appetizing but somehow, the whole thing works. This is most probably down to the fact that compositions borne out of the same mold recur through-out the album creating a sense of déjà-vu as well as allowing the listener to chart some kind of linear progression. (KS)

For fans of: Alva Noto & Ryuchi Sakamoto


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rose Kemp- Unholy Majesty LP Review (8/10), 6 July 2008
With influences ranging from Sabbath to The Melvins, from Tom Waits to Earth, `Unholy Majesty' was never going to be an ordinary proposition. Its skillfully arranged multi-hook harmonies and majestic instrumentation bring into play a unique concoction of pastoral leftfield folk, gothic atmospherics, epic post-metal crunch, psychedelic doom and spiraling prog-rock, all delivered in a rich, Seventies, analog dynamic. Part of folk-rock heritage, Rose is the daughter of Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp from seminal, pioneering British band `Steeleye Span'. After releasing her debut album `Glance' on Park Records, Kemp traded in her acoustic guitar for an electric and took the turbulent journey into the tempestuous world of leftfield rock. Following on from 07's `A Handful of Hurricanes' in which Kemp started to forge her experimental sound, we are now graced by this latest 10 tracker which showcases great versatility, immense production values and that oh so riveting voice.

`Unholy Majesty' is bookended by two dizzyingly progressive pieces. Being grandiose alt.rock tinged with an epic post-metal flair and combined with Kemp's hauntingly operatic vocals, both pieces grind and meander across a gothic soundscape that progresses story-like, delivering both a sense of dread and a sense of lush beauty. In between these bruisers, we find Kemp in more serene territory, territory which does however explode every so often with galvanizing riffage that could wake the dead. 'Flawless' and `Nature's Hymn' are touching alt.folk lullabies that portray Kemp's ethereal side and really bring through her exquisite range of depth whilst `Saturday Night' takes this serene formula and steeps it in a more vibrant and darker, Radiohead-esque aesthetic. `Wholeness Sounds' perfectly showcases the albums immense production values with its rich and harmonious tapestry of fleeting organ-drone, subtle cosmic feedback, metronomic percussives and backbone guitar melody that drips with a melancholy majesty. Kemp's vocals writhe with a gentle and feminine charm before the whole track drops into a heroic stomp that will have live crowds in spazz-mode.

Kemp's powerful vocals have to be heard to be believed and the epic setting in which it is displayed makes for an even greater proposition. The snarling atmospherics and ever-expanding riffage are easy to imitate but difficult to make unique, however, `Unholy Majesty' has managed to twist a clutch of influences into a proprietary sound. Those with less musical knowledge would most probably compare the sound of `Unholy Majesty' with that of Evanescence but in reality there is far more going on and Jarboe's lysergic, avant-rock stomp would be a more fitting comparison. (KS)

For fans of: Jarboe, Neurosis, Titan


Bear Fight [7" VINYL]
Bear Fight [7" VINYL]
Offered by wolfhound57
Price: £3.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Ten Kens- Single Review (8/10), 5 July 2008
This review is from: Bear Fight [7" VINYL] (Vinyl)
Specialising in an angsty and bombastic breed of downtuned post-punk, `Ten Kens' fuse the white-hot vigor of the Liars with the dark melodic swagger of Black Mountain and Arcade Fire to create a captivating and volatile mix of bittersweet melody and spiked alt-rock all stamped with their own unique delivery.

A fresh signing to Fat Cat, `Ten Kens' comprises of Dean Tzenos (guitar), Dan Workman (vocals), Lee Stringle (bass), and Ryan Roantree (drums). With this release, their double A-Side debut single, the Toronto based four-piece show that they are certainly not shy, blasting out a high octane shot of vitriol-filled post-punk and contrasting it with a moody journey into indie-rocks underbelly.

On `Bearfight', deep, pounding drums and reverberating bass stomp and crunch with molten energy whilst jangly guitars accentuate the tracks undeniable bounce. The captivating melodics are complemented by the vocals with Workman's voice exploding forth with a rich harmonic texture that remains rooted in a raw and edgy punk-rock aesthetic, something which is made all the more tangible and forceful thanks to well arranged backing vocals. On the flipside, `Y'all Come Back Now' proves Ten Kens aren't a one trick pony as it showcases the band in a more atmospheric frame of mind. The energetic crunch is pegged back for a drunken and moody landscape that surprisingly (and gloriously) morphs into a dreamy, Stone Roses-esque slice of psyche-drenched indie-rock.

With their debut release, `Ten Kens' have certainly made themselves heard amongst the cacophony of indie-rockers and post-punkers and have set the stage for their hotly anticipated forthcoming debut album. (KS)

For fans of: Liars, Charlottefield, Les Savy Fav, Black Mountain


Object 47
Object 47
Price: £12.58

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wire- Object 47 Review (8.7/10), 4 July 2008
This review is from: Object 47 (Audio CD)
Wire's career is a microcasm. From the stripped down beginnings on Pink Flag to the avant-influenced oddball experiments on Chairs Missing and finally the full fledged leap into the unknown with 154, their first three albums pretty much define how punk developed into post-punk before the latter even really had a name. Even after their hiatus, their return in the late 80's epitomized the sound that post-punk had turned into, embracing pop and dance music to create "New Wave." This is why you couldn't be surprised by their second reformation in the 00's. Post Punk had indeed entered another stage in it's timeline (the "revival" stage, popularized by bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads), and it's creators, who seemingly have been documenting it's evolution ever since, had to have their say.

And so, 5 years after capturing the post-punk revival movement in it's aggressively youthful abandon with Send, they've returned with the much more melodious Object 47, defining how most of the post-punk revivalists have embraced higher production values and tamed down their approach (Bloc Party, British Sea Power and even Interpol don't sound nearly as energetic and frantic as they once were). The difference is, much like the soft-spoken A Bell is A Cup..., Object 47 does it right.

The proof lies in the album's electrifying contradictions. This is music that, when picked apart, reveals menacing tenseness and industrialism. "All Fours" rolls in on a classically Wire-esque single-chord bash, that gets exceptionally assaulted by a vicious bridge of noise and feedback. "Circumspect" is drugged up and strung out to dry, decadence and distance embodied in the form of listless guitar figures. But, ironically, looking at Wire's latest offering from a distance reveals nothing but a bunch of condensed pop tunes. The tightly-wound guitars may be focused on forming walls of dissonance and repetition, but unlike their last album, the band uses these ear-piercing textures in order to pen some infectious hooks. "Perspex Icon" couldn't be more memorable, contrasting a vocal that borders on whimpering with layers of brisk and fervent post punk guitars. And tracks like "Mekon Headman" or "One of Us" have choruses that will lodge themselves in your brain for weeks.

On modern electro-buzzing tracks like "Hard Currency" it becomes especially easy to guess that the producer in question is Flood (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails), a craftsman who has been known in the past to dwell in that spot between abrasive squalor and catchiness. There are moments that Flood's mainstream flirtations are made far too apparent (the dark highway driving anthem, "Four Long Years" is a little too close to Depeche Mode for comfort and "Are You Ready" desperately needs to get away from its sterile production), but Wire is a band that has proven to hold up to change remarkably well, and with Object 47 they continue to triumphantly hold the torch up for post punk. (Aron Fischer)

For fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Blonde Redhead, Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads


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