- by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2016-01-24 Label: Sacred Bones Records
The monolithic structure and pervasive green light of the front cover to Pop.1280’s album Paradise implies a lurking unease, an unmitigated dread. Luminescent green is the colour of decay, and this post-Orwellian work of visceral, bloody, guttural, anti-utopian industrial punk music is brimming with negativity about social progress.
Rhymically, Paradise is brilliant. It’s 1980s' uni-layered, post-punk beat structure, crashing cymbals, jarring vocal menace, gnashing guitars and processed keyboards occasionally collide into cataclysmic dancefloor mayhem. On the brilliant ‘USS ISS’, Pop.1280 manage to combine the new wave foreboding of Gary Numan’s latter works, with the underlying pop sense of Crime and City Solution, and industrial dance of Cabaret Voltaire or Nine Inch Nails. To great effect. It’s one of those tracks where the dark end draws you deeper into yourself, the shamanistic dance more suited to anger management than social interaction.
‘In Silico’ reminded me of the early experiments of Hunters and Collectors, where sharp metallic percussion and deep growling, almost submersive vocals create dystopian soundscapes, and punk-rock is the glue that binds the music together. The stabs of percussion and interrupted guitar phrasing are devices to create disquietude, but overall the music propels forward in a literallly positive way, insisting you move with it.
The excellent momentum build on ‘Rain Song’ and ‘Kingdom Come’ leads in the latter to a great coda, the perfect culmination of dark sermon and noise. Man versus Machine.