Oliver Ho returns with his second Broken English Club album White Rats II. Presented over 12 tracks and four sides of vinyl for the L.I.E.S. imprint, it's an immersion in the past, present and future of techno, ranging from dancefloor-orientated workouts and head-banging bass to vistas of industrial noise.
Vinyl Double LP £21.49 LIES136
2LP on L.I.E.S.
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- White Rats II by Broken English Club
Not often I get to write the sequel to a review, but then again, it’s not often that a musician so explicitly releases the sequel to an album. Broken English Club is the EBM/electro project of one Oliver Ho, and as of White Rats I was defeated and broken. Ho managed to capture the dystopian anxiety despite using a palette that is mostly drawn from the 80s. I wondered at the time where the project would go next. On White Rats II I get to find out.
Musically the album is a little less electro than the last. ‘Cold Medicine’ probably fits more easily in the techno hole, though it’s drum patterns bring to mind industrial music. But there is still plenty of electro sound stuff, like the wonky and disorienting ‘Vacant Cars’ or ‘Grey Windows’ with its hopeless spoken word. It even goes a bit Ghost Box at one point on ‘Exit Divine’ which features a recording of a man describing the car crash using received pronunciation.
What I was more interested though, was whether the themes Ho was investigating would develop. It seems he’s more interested in evoking political anxiety this time. Where on White Rats I we heard about “Britain First fuckers”, here we have to make do with a more general sense of malaise. And perhaps that’s apt, that malaise has slowly crept in every part of society of the optimism of the time before the 2008 financial crash has faded.
How then will Ho finish his trilogy? White Rats II ends with ‘Waves in Silver’, a rapturous track that tears up an album’s worth of tension. I think it’s catharsis time.
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