Appliance : Imperial Metric

West Country electro-maths. Could do better

It’s hardly Appliance’s fault, but they operate in a saturated market now. Once upon a time, this post-rock schtick was new and exciting. Three men from the unlikely avant-setting of Exeter, Appliance droned pointedly with the best of them. In 2001, they’re stuck in something of a rut.

As with last year’s mini-LP, ‘Six Modular Pieces’, there’s swathes of electronica – Warp bleeps, broken-circuit electro-crackles – forging new angles within these stark guitar travelogues. The elements fuse quite marvellously on ‘Map Of The Territory’, where Pole-like click-beats merge with dubby rock and frantic squiggles.

Yet even the finest examples of the Appliance craft (‘Skylight’; ‘A Gentle Cycle Revolution’) seem oddly hollow when you realise that, essentially, they’re moving in ever-decreasing circles. There’s undertones of Cold War insanity threading these tracks together, but it’s hardly enough. Without the aloof art-skool demeanour that marked their early work – even James Brooks’ none-more-abstract paintings on their sleeves were, y’know, something – Appliance are just another troupe of high-minded post-rock paranoiacs.

‘Where Has The Space Race Gone?’ asks the closing track. Regrettably,

the answer’s not to be found here.

Noel Gardner