Friday, 2 December 2011

Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures – Epic Flail review for Alternative Matter

If anyone would like to know where music of a certain era could have gone, in which dead pan vocal and purring machinery were admired, then “Epic Flail” is one opportunity. From the opening harsh, dissonant electronic throb of “Breaking Down” the listener is transported to a future dystopia, and the journey can be uncomfortable, but ultimately rewarding. The arrangement of the song here is angular and the grating electronica, at first a distraction, blends into the piece with unnerving ease. “Days Months Years”, despite being more soothing to the ears, is layered with washes of sound that lift the song itself from being something less harmless, into something that broods and menaces. In places, such as on “Lost”, the production is distant and ethereal and lends the music an aura of loneliness and despair, which continues into “Voices from the Other Side”. One cannot help but be reminded of how many bands 30 years ago put the Manchester landscape to music in the UK. The two more abrasive tracks sandwich this EP, as “Thinking Machines” again, over desolate, synthesized vocals, conveys a hint of danger and suspicion. The five song collection that makes up “Epic Flail” hints at a time when purely electronic music was new and experimental, and pushes the boundaries further for a new century, in which this template is being used to experiment further still. 

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