Monday, 23rd April 2018. 1:19:57pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Gothic Attrition- Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club


ARTIST: Attrition

ALBUM: Smiling, at the Hypogonder Club

LABEL: Two Gods Records

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 3-18-09

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Originally released in 1985 and now reissued by band founder Martin Bowes' own label, this album is starting to show its age, but nonetheless remains a powerful example of Attrition's more club-oriented work. Drawing more strongly on electro and EBM influences, it's an album full of unexpectedly funky moments that contrast intriguingly with Bowes' deadpan grumbles and staccato keyboard sequences. "Shrinkwrap," originally released as a separate single, is infectiously perky even as it critiques the wastefulness of modern consumerist society, while "Pendulum Turns" uses staccato beats and herky-jerky keyboards to emphasize the song's nervous energy. While the analog drum machines are the real stars here, plenty of Attrition's more classical inspirations do manage to seep in, particularly on "The Game Is Up," with its hints of sampled violin, and "Mind Drop," which starts off with grim organs and synthesized choir effects before launching into a rock-infused electro track. The album's centerpiece is the two-part "Fusillade," which starts off as an ambient gothic piece consisting only of richly treated bass guitar and slow, dreary female vocals, then launches into a dance floor-friendly rocker with pianos, electric guitar, and Bowes singing baritone rather than delivering his usual growl. It should, even today, be a huge dance hit, especially in the bonus version appended to this CD edition, which features both male and female vocals and updated production values, and the fact that it isn't a staple at old-school nights is more a commentary on the close-mindedness of the scene itself than anything else. Still, Bowes' music has always been geared more toward thoughtful listening, even on albums like this that are extra heavy on the drum sequences, and fans of his sardonic take on darkwave should definitely add this to their collection if they haven't already.

For more information on the work of Martin Bowes, visit www.attrition.co.uk.


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