CD, Crash Frequency, 2005
“Club Life” comes on steeped in sedate coldness and peaks with pulsing heat. It’s laden with subtleties that you’ll be picking up after months of listening and at best drives your dancing feet, your heart and your thoughts. With the intellect of electronica and the passion of punk, this is the Melbourne duo’s most tasty, sophisticated and balanced release yet.
Roby’s vocals have really been pushed and developed for the album, opening with “Club Life”, he almost croons and dissipates and explodes again into energetic punk recitation to Free Fall – a twitching dark electro track. A very pop refrain and distorted synth bass and lo-bit percussion that rises and falls quickly holds this up.
“Vedo Rosso” is probably my favourite track of the album – delivered in the vocalist’s native Italian, it rolls and thunders like the rant it depicts. Roby raps to a thumping kick and against mass deception – there’s no apathy or negativity here, just faltering fighting spirit, a slogan spat back through kicked teeth. Two instrumentals – “In Apnea” and “Storms of Beslan” offer no respite with chilling oscillators running up and down the listener’s spine, pierced and framed by clear pulses and statically charged inexorable bass.
“Fear” rings out almost as a challenge, “Don’t you…never, never” but is fine Tankt electro-punk, with the shouting, passionate frustration of the vocals and swirling ambience, chattering hi-hats and warmly emotive keys.
“Tribe” Act I and II are darker, angrier, harder and more straighforwardly political than anything the duo have produced before. Featuring guest vocals from Angel Spit and Angel Theory, it thumps mercilessly on your ribcage, pulls you by the collar and urges you to wake the fuck up. It spirals down with panning techno phrases and compressed kicks and snares into a circular chorus that sums up the mundanity, the frustration and repetition of human existance. Hear it and throw your TV out the window. Or just know a bit more than you did before.
Pulling the listener sideways, slapping them, moving their limbs and neurons is “Nite Life”, the defining club track on the album. Strongly rythmnic, busy with crunchy low-end synthesis and beats like polished steel with an almost romantic, emotive synth line rolling over the top of it, like a silver lined cloud over crowded dancefloor…punching rounded arpeggios punctutate the instrumental…all I can say is it’s strength and beauty combined.
With an almost glam-rock lead break, “Bush on Fire” is a humorous, catchy vignette of a dying soldier’s last moments and shows that purpose need not be grave. “Night Ride” captures a certain time after midnight and before dawn with curved synths that blossom with brilliance against a driving chilly bassline…vocal harmonies aplenty as Roby and David play off on each other’s ranges.
But I’ve said too much already. Hear it.
— James Ryan , originally published in SydneyGothic