Reviews: Anodyne – The Love Album (Acroplane);

We’ve had a landslide of electronic albums over the last couple of years. Everything from 25 minute hard bangers refracting the spirit of punk through broken analogue gear to Theo Parrish’s American Intelligence, which came on 11 sides of wax and made you pay 900 quid to pretend you weren’t listening to jazz funk (I know, I know, I can tell the pelters are on their way) embraced the long play format. With something like Our Thing, where we traditionally go cock a hoop over two or three tracks per 12″, it usually allows the artist greater leeway in creating sonic worlds that are often hinted at yet fully realised. Often you are left wondering whether it would have been better to strip out the extraneous filler, the arsty ambient pieces, the soundtracky moments, and just do one thing well. Occasionally though the extra effort pays off, and there is a sense of the artist building a beguiling narrative above the extra space.

Anodyne’s The Love Album on Acroplane falls closer to the latter than the former, although its certainly not shorn entirely of material that the record couldn’t afford to be without. Happily, though, those few moments don’t skew the rest, nor do they dilute the energy. And that is a good thing as The Love Album is all about the energy.

The meat here is old school dark side rave dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world in a similar way to the Hands of Doom record by Lozano and Fett Burger we covered a few weeks back. But where Hands Of Doom was a playful and generally respectful homage (a little too respectful, I think) The Love Album is a far more brutal take on a genre that is currently enjoying the first flushes of its renaissance.

It’s not purely rave, of course. Almost every track is breakbeat heavy but they veer between shadow draped, industrialized mayhem and pulsing electro almost as much as anything else. What unites them in common purpose, though, is the heavy mood that lies upon the lot. Beyond that The Love Album has an undoubted IDM feel; Sweeps of astral synths carving space for themselves amongst the crunching beats, and mitigating some of the drums bruising power (although not at the expensive of their potency.)

The best moments are those where the two sides – the beauty and the beast – come together, as on the deceptively subtle Crossed Swords where AFX tinged electro is cross-bred with malicious rude boy acid. Its moody darkside thrash is restrained and electrifying, evoking a palpable feel of muscular amoral menace. It’s a vibe that sticks its neck out several times; the broken 4/4 of Loss Of Conciousness is very much it’s companion piece, as is the murder-ghost of Overwatch where the rave overtones of the rhythms are kicked up a notch along side a viscously deliciously reduced acid line that cuts through the murk.

King of the Hill here though is the compressed rage bomb of Darkenergy which howls into life sounding like the Prodigy on a mission to make you recant your sins. Its precise, scary and absolutely flying, with the percussion bursting over the drums and haunting synths like a claymore mine of sound. It’s the anti Hands Of Doom, the cheeky charm replaced with a desperation to avoid the guilty comedown of onrushing morning as long as possible.

Although not in the shops for another week or two, The Love Album is available direct from Bandcamp. Just follow the link in the clip above.

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