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Two Lone Swordsmen From The Double Gone Chapel Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood have attached a set of jump leads from the...

Andrew McGregor 2004

Our post-modern musical landscape could never be accused of being under-nostalgic. Music has always had a tendency to glance back over its shoulder at the past, but the last few years has seen an unabashed spate of revivalism, from 60s garage rock posturing to the soi-disant Electro Clash' phenomenon.

Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, known collectively as TLS, have shouldered their fair share of influences over the years.

Known mainly for their skewed dancefloor electro experiments, their CVs boast first-hand experience with a range of genres and sub-genres: the pop dance of Primal Scream (Weatherall) and The Aloof (Tenniswood), the gnarly dub of Sabres Of Paradise (which they were both a part of) and the alternative 80s rock of Weatherall's infamous Nine O Clock Drop compilations.

The Double Gone Chapel, named after a boozer in London's East End, attaches a set of jump leads from the duos studio directly to their collective past, with particular emphasis on Weatherall's fixation with the early 80s alternative rock scene.

Rather than simply incorporating their influences into a dub-electro matrix however, the pair have reconfigured their set-up and made giant strides towards redefining their sound.

With Weatherall on vocals, Tenniswood on guitar and bass, and a number of pals bashing an old drum kit that once belonged to Jah Wobble and Killing Joke, they drag alt-rock ghosts kicking and lurching from a largely forgotten part of the past and directly into the digital realm.

Overtones of Primal Scream's movie-referencing, trippy analogue-electro opus Vanishing Point hone into view soon enough, as steely beats and samples give way to gritty, driving basslines and Weatherall's oddly engaging dead-pan vocals.

The overall sound, as on standout tracks like "Formica Fuego", "Punches and Knives", "Kamandas Response", or even the Sabres-style interlude "The Valve", is wonderfully viscous, seeping from the speakers like hot tar. Eerie but compelling, dark but soulful.

There was always going to be a cover song on an LP like this, and five tracks in we hear a superb rendition of The Gun Club's "Sex Beat" - a track immediately countered by the defiant lurch of "Damp" straight afterwards.

"Taste Of Our Flames" is beautiful introspective gloom, moving along lugubriously in the manner of Tricky's "Broken Homes", with male/female vocal interplay reminiscent of Tricky and Martina Topley Bird on their Maxinquaye classic.

"Sick When We Kiss", with its vocodered vocal and programmed riddim, is the closest the LP comes to anything remotely post-punk-funk, though by then any thoughts of this being yet another electro-clash experiment have been long abandoned.

Far from being another notch on the revivalist headboard, this is an authentic sonic document, driven from the heart and shaped by sincere artistic concerns. By successfully capturing the raw, cerebral voodoo of a prior era and feeding it through their own twisted circuitry, TLS have created their best LP to date.

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