What does it sound like?:
I go back with these guys and they’ve always been a great live band. The Leeds combo can whip up a ferocious, Motorik/Psych-rock storm and their secret weapon is frontman M.J. – red faced and sweating, screaming into his Echoplex and bashing away at a Moog- imagine Suicide fronted by a big, angry man from Leeds.
Of course these days any number of bands can easily whip up a Motorik/Psych-Rock storm and there are whole festivals devoted to one-chord, heads-down no-nonsense mindless riffage. Last years Liverpool Psych-fest was a non-stop showcase of endless drang drang drang drang CLANG. It’s perhaps no coincidence that they’re having a year off to let the pasture re-grow and also Hookworms have had a rethink and moved on several giant steps out of the terribly crowded and hairy Psych-rock cul-de-sac (can you imagine how it smells down there- ew). They’ve had a rough time it seems, not least because their studio was flooded in the great boxing day floods that saw sirens blaring over Calderdale and the River Aire seeping into their mixing desk and synths.
They’ve come back strong with their first truly great record. Track one ‘Negative Space’ sets the scene. It’s an epic Synth pop track but not only that, for the first time we get to hear MJ sing without the mask of that bloody Roland Space Echo and, shock horror, the guy has a perfectly good voice and can really sing! In fact he reaches a big Glam Rock Sweet-style shriek (which I always suspected he had in him). You can also hear the words, and he has plenty to say.
Don’t worry there are plenty of Motorik beats and Spacemen 3 style drones but they’re amped up and glossily produced so this is kind of a wonderful stew of Glam-Rock-Synth-Pop-Kraut-Rock but there’s load of melody, warmth and colour in here as well. ‘Opener’ is perhaps the first Krautrock Stadium anthem with it’s joyous, epic chorus. ‘Boxing Day’ (you can guess what inspired that) is like Underworld interspersed with squalls of free-jazz sax noise before abruptly cutting into the ambient balm of ‘Reunion’.
What does it all *mean*?
Brilliantly produced, hugely enjoyable and one of those records you’ll want to put on again for another spin after you’ve played it. If you’ve become cynical about whether there’s any truly great new music out there give this a try it will restore your faith and catch them live if you can.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Spiritualized, Factory Floor, Stereolab, Can, Neu, Mogwai, Suicide, Pere Ubu, The Sweet, Bowie, Depeche Mode, Human League, Tubeway Army, Kraftwerk, Moroder