Exploded View - Exploded View - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Exploded View - Exploded View

by Rob Taylor Rating:5 Release Date:2016-08-19

The life-sapping musings of ice queen, Anika and her latest band, Exploded View are due to be released on venerable label, Sacred Bones, in the coming days. 

Past collaborations between Anika and Geoff Barrow from Portishead seem to have burned imprints of droning melancholia, dissonance and oppressive beat machinery into Anika’s cognition. 

Anika is the disembodied reincarnation of Nico, and although there are hints at sorrowful ruminations in tracks such as ‘Stand Your Ground’, mostly it’s is a frigid, impassive voice that bestows no relief from a grim world view.

On ‘Orlando’ a neat keyboard repetition and some sharp four square drumming give rhythmic thrust to a track that, lyrically, remains in dull suspension. The dissonance of ‘Disco Glove’ drives hard towards the boundaries of avant-pop while the tempo supports a frenetic but joyless dance to the finish. ‘No More Parties in the Attic’ laments the lack of industrial art-space as big business buys up and develops urban areas. A laudable theme brought to its knees by an absence of poignancy. Hardly the point I guess because empathy to the cause runs a distant second to detached cool. 

The rather aptly named ‘Killjoy’ delivers on its promise with more ostensibly misanthropic noise with bendy dub and clamorous industrial noise taking stabs in the dark. Anika’s implacable chanting is neither interesting nor emotionally cogent. Still, again, if you’re able to control the flow of cortisols flooding through your veins at this point, the musical thrust supports ritual dance in lieu of emotional connection. 

‘Gimme Something’ is an interesting track rhythmically, as much of the album is, and the long instrumental beginning at least provides respite from the ensuing monochromatic thrumming of Anika’s voice. It highlights the problem. The voice sounds disembodied, and in fact is operating on a different wavelength to the rest of the band.

Exploded View is not a bad album. In fact, I can imagine many will find it agreeably challenging. In the absence though of any heart at its core, it’s acquaintance is fascinating but short lived. 


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