Thursday, 13 May 2010

Album Review - 65daysofstatic 'We Were Exploding Anyway'

Spending a lot of their musical career beating off unwanted genre tags, 65daysofstatic have finally come out of the closet as a sort-of-electronic-dance group.

People are treating We Were Exploding Anyway as if it was the most controversial thing to be released upon the planet since Berlusconi. Fans have been split down the middle, some saying this is their Sistine Chapel masterpiece and others with their pitchforks and beacons of fire are claiming they’re nothing but witches and traitors to the post-rock club. I am a member of the former group.

This is not the first 65 album to be laiden with electronics. In former works such as The Fall Of Math electronics are ever-present, whether or not it was at the forefront of the music. We Were Exploding Anyway feels like that subtlety has been released from its cage and produces in-your-face bionic drum beats and arpeggiated synthesizers worthy of The Prodigy or Pendulum, without the guilty pleasure aspect and with so much more on offer beneath the surface.

The monotonous pounding bass and off-kilter drum thuds of opener Mountainhead delivers a massive ‘fuck you’ from the Sheffield band to any fan who wanted 65 to string out their entire existing discography on repeat for the rest of eternity. These are true experimental musicians in that they foray in to new genres to provide something new and fresh for themselves and fans alike. That’s not to say there aren’t elements of the ‘classic’ 65daysofstatic on this album, sparse and simple melodies with a myriad of complex rhythms remain.

You know you’re good at sound production when The Cure’s Robert Smith grants permission to manipulate his voice any way the band sees fit. The track Come To Me is the finished result. The song alights upon ambient hums before the familiar glockenspiel sound of Radio Protector enters. Vocals on a 65daysofstatic track are unexpected enough without it being that of a post-punk/new wave hero. This track is a real mix of the old and the new styles, a breakdown and built up with rolling drums and gritty repeated guitar before a satisfying explosion of sound that reveals the neverending energy the band exudes. The song ends in a cyclical manner as the humming ambience returns in the form of strings that ease you out of the song and on to the next.

10 minute long closer Tiger Girl is the most arresting piece of 65 music put on record since Radio Protector. A minimalistic track with a long build up gradually adding layer after layer that would do Mike Oldfield proud. This track is the most keyboard orientated of the album and fluttering synth is the catalyst to the climax of echoing guitar, explosive, crashing drums and sweet keyboards continuously raising higher in pitch before the song falls away into a fadeout of digital feedback.

This album feels like the kind of music 65daysofstatic has been yearning to get out for a long time. As I prevously mentioned, while some mere fools have dismissed this album as something that has strayed too far from its roots, 65daysofstatic are the band to watch for surprises such as this little gem.

Like a good wine, 65daysofstatic only get better with age, so let’s see what else they have tucked up their sleeve in years to come.

We Were Exploding Anyway by 65daysofstatic is available now.

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