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LFO Sheath Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

LFO's third outing since the ground breaking and seminal 'Frequencies' album. The...

Paul Sullivan 2003

LFOs Frequencies is a legendary album. Capturing the raw energy, gleeful hedonism and general gnashing foment of the acid-house scene with exquisite perfection, Gez Varley and Mark Bell commandeered the escapist bleeps and bass of Generation Rave into an indelibleaccount that still sounds as potent today as it did a decade ago.

The trouble with creating a truly seminal album, however, is that the fiercer its luminosity, the darker the shadow cast upon future endeavours since everything becomes comparable.

LFOhave not escaped the curse. 1996s Advance didn't come close to the heady standards of their debut, although in fairness it probably never could. It was a good album but the inevitable problem was that it sounded too self-conscious,lacking the impulsive joie-de-vivre of its predecessor.

The good news is that they haven't given up. Or rather Mark hasn't (Gez left a while ago) and has managed to cook up a third LFO outing in between producing LP's for Bjork and Depeche Mode.

Further good news is that the album manages to re-capture some of the original pioneering spirit that made Frequencies such a tour-de-force.

The first single from the album "Freak" is a perfect illustration of the record's effective nostalgia. An uncompromisingtechno-fied floor-slayer it recalls the big room chaos of yesteryear and comes infused with that bleepaliciousLFO energy.

The rest of the LP takes us further back into the roots of LFO, mapping out their original influences in a neatly sutured if slightly schizophonic format.Detroit techno ("Mum-man"), acid ("Snot"), ambient ("Blown"), electroare all thrown into the mix, veering indulgently from soporific bubblebaths to bellicose cacophonies, pastoral meanders to agressive post-rave posturing often in the space of a few digital pulses.

The eschewal of vocals, the rinky-dink sounds, the seemingly capricious construction create an atmosphere that's hard to ignore in an era of polished selections.

It isn't Frequencies Part 2 but it is a kind of kindred album, sharing the spirit of yesteryear with a modern audience and glorying in its own artistic freedom. It would seem the past has a future after all.

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