The Sheffield glitch-rock quartet’s fourth album is deliriously exhilarating.
Brad Barrett 2010-04-16
Having pushed instrumental guitar music through textural and tempo barriers for three albums before this one, 65daysofstatic have now reeled in the complexity and instead emphasised volume and dynamics. We Were Exploding Anyway seems to dispense with the subtlety and glitch-laden rock of yore, replacing it with the kind of cavern-defying hooks that The Prodigy, or even drum’n’bass goons Pendulum, could hinge their entire careers on.
Of course without the lessons learned through almost 10 years of touring, plus a massive coup in the form of an arena support slot with The Cure last year, We Were Exploding Anyway may well have hit jagged rocks with such an approach. 65daysofstatic transcend the competitive loud war by layering simple, effective and evocative ideas akin to an aural acropolis of cards.
The gargantuan centrepiece of the record begins with the Robert Smith-smeared Come to Me, which alights upon ambient hums before signature electronic bell percussion sets in. Within three minutes the track has begun pounding and The Cure's vocalist is looped upon a churning, ebbing thrash parading as a dance anthem. The ebullient flow streams across eight minutes and yet it's still difficult to shake upon its abrupt end. This is followed by Go Complex, an ominous Ministry of Sound death-rattle that bellows scintillating air raid grooves over itself. If club music imploded, this is probably what it would sound like. The only problem is that these two opposed beasts are so all-consuming that it may feel that this black hole core is all everything else leads up to.
Nevertheless, the streamlined digital punch of opener Mountainhead captures the freshly mutated forms of previous work – the lead guitar lines, the lateral drumming, and the technological seething underneath. Crash Tactics and Weak4 hold their own by virtue of 65days' insatiable beat patterns and jerky stop-start crescendos. Dance Dance Dance in particular has an astonishing tribal breakdown a minute-and-a-half in, which could stampede across synapses in a deliriously exhilarating fashion. So, even without the aforementioned central themes, this album still engages the listener with its intense and shuddering sonic trauma.
More than anything the live setting seems made for every single one of these songs, rather than the other way around. From being a fringe concern – albeit one with an underground reputation worthy of rabid devotion – 65daysofstatic have grasped hitherto unimagined opportunities, capitalised on experiences and brought an eclectic yet huge arsenal with which to entice newcomers and open-minded veteran travellers with.