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- Cry Havoc / Heathen Birth by Xander Harris
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 30 October 2014
Wriggling out of Rock Action's electronic tentacle is American dark synth explorer Xander Harris' latest 7" single Cry Havoc / Heathen Birth. Contrary to the track titles, there actually isn't much havoc OR many heathens here - in their place stand 2 towering pieces of melancholic, midtempo slabs of percussive electronica.
They are definitely rooted in instrumental synthpop, with big synth strings that wouldn't be amiss in Tron or Eurythmics. The pace of the two are more or less even, both sitting in between the former and latter at a steady but driving tempo reinforced by slightly lo-fi but loud and sharply stuttering drums. Imagine walking down a city street in Blade Runner wearing your best cybershades and technoleather and you'd come vaguely close to the personification of this 7". But then a lonely dog looks at you from inside its dustbin home with its puppy-dog eyes and you feel a pinge of sadness which stays with you for the rest of the walk. So yeah, it sounds like sad dogs and cyber streets.
The Mogwai boys sure know what they are doing, bringing cool exquisitely layered synth music to the masses in between bludgeoning albums. Even those who can't stand the 80s sound will be able to find a place in the street to walk down and a dog to cry at.
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