A decent living was once to be made out of serotonin-exhausted, post-club victims by the likes of [a]Archive[/a] and the trip-hop mafia. Things, however, have changed.
Bristol’s [a]Archive[/a] first emerged in trip-hop’s wake with their 1996 ‘Londinium’ album, which featured Leila‘s sister on vocals and led to European glory and domestic indifference. Tonight they’re showcasing new material, and the opener ‘You Make Me Feel’ immediately displays a flashier edge.
Keyboard noiseniks Darius Keeler and Dan Griffiths provide chainsaw My Bloody Valentine guitar sounds, which is all very well, but the Liz Fraser posturing and shrieking provided by singer Suzanne Wooder is distinctly |ber-goth. Imagine Dead Can Dance‘s Lisa Gerrard singing Celine Dion.
It rapidly becomes apparent that [a]Archive[/a] are about as satisfying as the impenetrable architectural magazines that are bought to grace many a west London coffee table. They’re saying nothing, but in what they think is an archly cool way.
Trip-hop has spawned a monster in the shape of new goth. It’s not about spurious chemical relationship trauma any more, it’s about empty cities (Godspeed You Black Emperor!) and serial murder (Death In Vegas). Don’t they know the end of the world’s coming?