SILENCE at the back there!
All right, it’s another offering from these Batcave refugees, these goth grunge-bags. However, bear one thing in mind. This lot could have sold out, become another formulaic rock-band, and be riding high in the charts. Integrity, irrespective of outcome, deserves respect. Especially when it yields something worthwhile.
The band blends a number of different styles here. ‘Stress’ has the declamatory speedy weirdness of the B-52’s, we get Lydon snarls on ‘Ain’t Got Time To Bleed’ and ‘I Think’, jerky punk-funk on “Zombified’ and ‘Blessings Of The State’. ‘Katch 22’ is an Art Of Noise-like sound riot in itself. There is a grandiose opening march that sounds like something from ‘Aida’, then four different sections. The most outstanding are ‘Along Comes Reality’ with a stately slow-motion menace-march of reggae, and ‘Goodbye To Space’, which could be made from the out-takes of old Old Dr. Who soundtracks, a mish-mash of bleeps and electronic grunts. The overall texture which this adds up to its one of impending, unnamed catastrophe. Which is easy enough to achieve with standard doom’n’gioom effects and lyrics, but not so easy with a myriad of different musical styles.
In a time of increasing tribalism in music, these alien visitors have brought us a vision of what a fragmentation-uniting future could have in store. Shining facts reflecting a unified heart of darkness!
© Nicky Charlish, Sounds, 8 December 1990