Adult. : Anxiety Always

Itchy gothic synthcore from the Posh'n'Becks of Detroit electronica

Not since the guy from Sparks turned on on Top Of The Pops with his neat little clipped Hitler moustache has an electro-pop act managed to present child-catcher creepiness quite so dramatically as Adult… Pictured on the inner sleeve of ‘Anxiety Always’ squeezing a tube of glue into each other’s eyes, Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Millar are Detroit’s eeriest, scariest, plain witchiest couple – a husband-and-wife duo that, in their spare time, release kinky death-disco on their very own Ersatz Audio label, collaborate with Death In Vegas and make punkish synthcore music that’s as bare and foreboding as a stripped skeleton.

Truly, it beats the weekend trip to Ikea.

Although they’ve been aligned by some with their hometown’s proud techno heritage, Adult.‘s stylised take on inhuman malevolence actually has more in common with the synthetic soldiers of post-punk: Devo’s oddball dysfunction, for instance, or the cold man-becoming-machine schtick of The Normal’s ‘Warm Leatherette’. ‘Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed’ reads like an exhortation of cold, cocaine-addled inhumanity, Nicola Kuperus hissing “Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a party/ And be the only one there?” like a dusty-nosed anti-heroine pouting from the pages of a Brett Easton Ellis novel.

But Adult.‘s real skill lies in the way they pervert the limits of antique technology into singular strengths. Compressing the sound of gothic cathedral symphonics into the frame of a stuttering, cobwebbed Casio, Millar ratchets up the disco glitch into a ferociously minimal, hyper-tense techno rush. Violence simmers on the likes of ‘Kick In The Shin’ and ‘Turn Your Back’, the nag-nag-nag of itchy electronics and tinny drums tensing each track up like a coiled spring.

In this sense, Adult. are leagues away from the jaded circus of fash-hag boredom into which electroclash has regressed. ‘Anxiety Always’ is a triumph of punkish spirit, an album that embraces creeping horror like an un-comfort blanket. You suspect that, for the two lovebirds that made it, pillow-talk is a code-word for a grisly act of night-time asphixiation. But theirs is a profoundly workable partnership. Here comes the fear.

Louis Pattison