Album review: Alec Empire - 'Shivers'
Still digital-hardcorer than thou
One of the pleasing side effects of the general awesomeness of The Big Pink and Patrick Wolf is the light both artists have shone on the often overlooked work of Berlin techno-punk overlord Alec Empire. With his former guitarist Robbie Furze’s band in the ascendant and Patrick Wolf’s recent single ‘Vulture’ featuring music written by him, the time is ripe for this mini-album, bridging the gap between last year’s acclaimed ‘The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven’ and a new full-length due later this year.
It’s a handy little primer, too, a concise and powerful cocktail of the Empire staples of terrifyingly intense digital punk (‘Control Drug’, ‘TOT’), and left-wing politics (‘Baby Skull’), but also heading into more ambient, emotional territories on the title track and a more minimal, sultry feel on ‘Vampire State’.
‘If You Live Or Die’, featuring Furze, adds something of
The Big Pink’s bleeding-fretboard romanticism to Empire’s hectoring vocal onslaught, while ‘1000 Eyes’ flirts gritty, fuzzy, Royal Trux style alt-rock. It’s music that’s hedonistic, nihilistic and rigorously positive all at the same time. We’ll leave you to fill in your own ‘…strikes back’ joke.