London Brixton Mass

New tracks like 'Thomas Jefferson Airplane' and 'Karoshi' mistake droning-by-numbers for modernist Wagnerian bombast...

Go on, my son! Yesss! Nooo! Oh, so close. As marvellous an idea as incorporating a television into your live apparatus is, it can have an adverse effect on proceedings. Especially when football is being shown and sensitive drunk men are in attendance.

And so Champaign, Illinois, synth warriors [a]Salaryman[/a] return to the UK after 18 studio-bound months to find themselves providing heavy analogue backing to some decidedly lacklustre goal-mouth action. Quick, change the channel.

Little has altered in their barren, permafrosted world since we last encountered them. For while ‘Karoshi’, the group’s second album, admits concessions to the funk, here such nuances are crushed underfoot by lengthy and loud prog odysseys. Close your eyes and it’s [a]Add N To X[/a] jamming with Yes in 1982. In East Berlin. In winter.

Not much fun you’re thinking, and certainly new tracks like ‘Thomas Jefferson Airplane’ and ‘Karoshi’ mistake droning-by-numbers for modernist Wagnerian bombast. But when it comes to applying brutal keyboard science to the simplest of melodies, there are few more proficient than the ‘Man. ‘Graze The Umbra’, ‘Rather’, the mighty ‘Voids & Superclusters’ – all tremendously overblown industrial anthems – remind us why these four ragged technicians still matter. Incredibly, we forget the TV’s even there.

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