Having already worked with the popular TV On The Radio collective, as well as with arch-hipsters Telepathe, naturally the imposing Shannon Funchess is now next off Brooklyn's production line. And, due to last year's runaway underground success, it-label Mexican Summer have snapped her and synth-playing cohort Bruno Coviello up for a 2011 re-issue of their originally self-released In Tension EP.
Boasting a formidable pair of lungs, Funchess duly dominates the material. Her aggressive soul register is beyond striking. In turn, Coviello's new-wave synths are alternatingly poppy and urgent. The resultant power electro inevitably therefore invites comparison with genre titan Grace Jones, but Light Asylum's ever-present post-punk edge directs the duo more towards the world of New Order - the familiar digital drum beat of the otherwise cavernously Italo-industrial "Skull ****" in particular.
It's an effective, finely-wrought balancing act too; for example, "Knights And Week Ends" is similarly aggressive, full of crunching bass, buzzing synth drone intonations and a robotic-sounding Funchess. In contrast, the gently shiny arpeggio that heralds the explosive EP centrepiece "Dark Allies" entirely belies the whip-crack drum thud and black religion that is to follow.
There's no doubting who the star of the Light Asylum show is. With the exception of "A Certain Person" - a fairly forlorn synth-and-drum-pad skitter - Funchess punches with the fervent weight of an evangelist, preaching her dark missives and converting crowds as she goes. That this is all done from the shadowy edge of town adds a thrilling, irresistible sense of danger that really ought to propel the pair more squarely into the limelight in future.
Advised downloads: "Dark Allies" and "Skull ****".
Just read a Guardian review about "A Certain Person" and then listened to the tunes on My Space. I wish this was available on CD. It makes me want to cry (in a good way). Amazing, amazing voice and beautiful simple synth makes it a work of art.