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Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Attrition- 3 Arms and a Dead Cert


ARTIST: Attrition

ALBUM: 3 Arms and a Dead Cert

LABEL: Two Gods Records

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 9-18-08

Attrition- 3 Arms and a Dead Cert

Ignore the weird title. This album is perhaps the definitive darkwave release. Not the first, nor the most popular, but the most perfect example of the genre. The classical atmospheres, the gothic moodiness, and of course the electronics, condensed from the high energy aggression of EBM into something subtle and simmering with tension. The album starts off with an instrumental intro, with snippets of nervous violin (the real thing, played by Franck Dematteis) emerging from radio static, then launches into "White Men Talk" and "Cosmetic Citizen," each a masterpiece of pulsing electronics, skittering violins, and some of Attrition's most masterful vocal arrangements, with band founder Martin Bowes grumbling in a low octave while Julia Waller's operatic soprano soars high up above. "Slice of Life," true to its title, is sharper, the violins jagged and Waller's voice split down the middle and rearranged over a thumping techno beat, while "Acid Tongue," for all its caustic aggression, is much fuller, more reliant on classical modes, Dematteis' strings taking center stage while the electronics boil underneath them. On the second half of the album, things get more experimental, less reliant on conventional song structure. "One of These Mornings" is driven by samples, not verses, with violin screeching behind schoolchildren, and title track "3 Arms and a Dead Cert" is a chopped up composition of violins, crying babies, and bits of Waller's wordless wailing drenched in studio effects. It's anything but random, though, and gradually the morass of sampled sound effects coalesces into an orchestral crescendo, only to fade out in the ironically-titled "Prelude," an almost exclusively classical arrangement of strings. Originally released a decade ago, this masterpiece is available again in a remastered version on Bowes' own Two Gods Records. This means that there's no excuse not to own a copy; if you're even remotely interested in darkwave, gothic, or dark electronic music, this album should be mandatory listening.

Visit Martin Bowes and friends at www.attrition.co.uk for more information about this release.


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