Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Shaping Up

Good review of our latest album The Shape Of Things here



The Shape of Things (2011)
John Foxx and the Maths
Metamatic Records
Synthpop, Minimal

Star Rating: 9/10

"I had been wondering if they could pull it off again, could they top an album like 'Interplay' which was released earlier this year; I am pleased to report that with the exception of one remix, John Foxx and the Maths have made a record which is not the immediate sugar rush the debut was but rather the slow burning heat one finds in dark chocolate laced with habanero peppers. 'The Shape of Things' was hinted at by the band as being rougher around the edges and more experimental in nature... this was an understatement to put it mildly. After nearly a month spent with this work it continues to auger into my skull and shows no sign of stopping, despite the difficulty of obtaining it I don't foresee anyone else pulling off what has been composed by Benge and John ever. Go ahead, call it retro, make snide asides about the vintage of gear they work with... I dare any of you EBM crybabies to top it. Oh, that's right, you have your facebook to worry about... don't let me keep you from your 13 fans.

Autumn leaves falling and a cold cold wind blowing, rain rising in the East... a man's thoughts turn to where he's been, he reflects on those he's known and what has been lost to the ravages of time. This is a maddeningly addictive voyage of crushingly authored introspective electronic precision. The packaging is beautiful to behold, with some gorgeously rendered collages enticing us into the darkly shining music which snaps and sparkles alternately while the words of a man who's seen it all come at us mercilessly. His is a voice of calm serenity but my god, listen to what he's got to say. Really. Listen. There was a clip up on youtube which served as a tease for this new album entitled "Talk" and it may be one of the songs you'll be drinking in when they come to fit you for that strait jacket. Unhinged is one word for it, unsound would be another, I choose to use the term pure menace. It's what you'd expect to encounter in an upscale apartment lost in the miasma of a bustling city while the owner of it smokes leisurely cigarettes after they've dismembered their latest victim.

It was a splendid rush I felt when I opened up the box and saw a parcel from merry old England contained within, there aren't any regrets whatsoever but for you who don't know what's going on here permit me to break it down for you: skeletal concepts of songs given life through the medium of an arsenal of technology I would maim to bear witness to. 'Interplay' was merely a warm up for what you are going to hear if and when it graces your ears. The trainspotters amongst us will no doubt recognize the song "September Town" as the bonus track from the "Destination" single but what they won't recognize is how seamlessly it fits in with these new tracks. The synchronized abandon of modern urban living, this pair have created the ultimate soundtrack for an alienated, insular existence... to be all alone in a crowd.

How far this collaboration continues is anyone's guess, but it can't end like this. It just can't. Foxx has also been busy on the ambient side, also, everyone. He's just put out an album entitled 'Nighthawks' with Ruben Garcia and the legendary Harold Budd and before that 'Torn Sunset' with a fellow named Theo Travis which is an excursion into heavily reverberated pianos and beautifully drawn out atmospheric work. It has been a busy busy 2011 for Foxx and my apologies for the recent lapse, readers of Brutal Resonance, but I wanted to give this album and pair of artists the
time their work demanded to be fully comprehended and understood. In the midst of all the threadlike melodies and within the very molecules of synthesis there is a soul which screams to get out, to reveal the shape of things. Where you end and I begin, pure sex, the luscious contentment found in the pleasures of willing skin and beguiling eyes; come closer, look down in your shame, I'll never send you away..."

Peter Marks
01 Dec 2011

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