Friday, 16 March 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #106 - VCMG, "SSSS"

Vince Clarke has been responsible for at least one pivotal moment in my life. (I'm assuming that you can have more than one pivot - multi-jointed like a Rubiks snake.) His remix of "WFL" gripped my imagination one Saturday morning in September 1989 during The Chart Show. This grip lead me to appreciate guitar music - and together with moving a semi-decrepid early Seventies Bush stereo into my bedroom - this lead to me listening to John Peel of an evening and in turn becoming the musophile I am today. Vince was also jointly responsible for The Innocents, an album that dwells in a warm, time-cuddled corner of my heart. Family holiday in a small hotel in Boscombe in 1988, a mini-snooker table and Appeltise.

The only problem is: this is a bit lumpen. It springs, it bounces: it has a rubbery intensity. But nothing really happens over the first few tracks, including the single "Spock". Highly illogical. "Windup Robot" gets a bit livelier, some boy racer keyboard revving (You can take the boys out of Essex, etc.). "Bendy Bass" performs as you might expect the tin to read, were there a tin. Even a couple of what I might describe as Depeche Mode noises in there, though I can't quite put my finger on exactly what they are.

"Single Blip" has a single blip in it. I think I can make out what they've done there. Great shimmering vistas of sound open out somewhere else. "Skip This Track" has not only a sly line in self-depreciation in the title, but also some good advice. Ho h'only joking: it is a bit samey though. "Aftermaths" is the sound of the electronics involved trying to explain how they wanted to work a bit longer on this, but the fleshy ones kept having tea breaks or pushing the wrong buttons or switching them off or whatever.

The closing track, "Flux", has more of a melody going on and this helps throw the functional machinery into profitable relief. But all in all, I'm disappointed. Not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this.

It reminds me of that music that seemed to be on all the post-pub shows about dance music in the early Nineties that used to depress the shit out of me. All that Pete Tong business. Too sleek, too future. It might be OK as a soundtrack to WipeOut 2047, but I'd like to think The Chemical Brothers could come up with something a little more stirring.

Rating: Them Two out of Depeche Mode

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