Monday, 29 October 2007

The Freedom To Fire Those Freedom Rockets

Monsters Build Mean Robots
Monsters Build Mean Robots
Nice Weather For Airstrikes!

Subtleties make violence poignant, otherwise it’s just brute and unsexy.

Late one night, or early one morning, it was around that indefinable time – the comedowning hour - two friends played Grand Theft Auto with the sound off and this album playing at a perfect volume over the top. There were no noises of gunfire or tyres screeching; the mood was of affectingly merciful numbing slaughter, the victims sank slowly to the ground, hugging the floor in grateful complicity. As the avatar solemly paced the streets, the electronic paranoia hummed about us in one of those druggy moments of sheer coherence, sonic effervescence fluttering around our peripheral consciousness, the soft patter of failing beats like the hearts on screen, sinking into oblivion, washed over with a dusky reverie, a half light encroaching from outside echoed the eerie sounds crawling from the speakers into our slowly numbing headspace.

Sometimes We Sit And Stare At Passing Tanks

Nobody is writing any protest songs any more. Or rather, nobody writes any good ones. Nobody is writing songs about the war. Or rather, nobody writes any good ones. Radiohead are the most mainstream act to have come close, but their oblique strike missed its mark, coming wrapped not in a conical steel skin or sharpened blade that the masses could relate to but in obtuse ambience, hanging it’s sombre shoulders under the weight of others guilt. Monsters Build Mean Robots sound brings much of what made Amnesiac and Kid A such controversially engrossing experimental listens to the fore and submerges the guitars into rhythmic currents that flow underneath, supporting the body of the machine as it clicks whirrs and rumbles inexorably onwards

The muted pneumatics of the opening Do Uncles Dream Of Electric Kids? crumble into the softly crunching beats of Stroll Into Flames To Find Self and slowly the guitars begin to reveal themselves like analogue rays slicing through digital mist, slow-motion solar flares engulfing the shadows, shuffling beats flitting past causing eddies to suck in their wake; a dynamic exemplified in Chimes Breakthrough Light To Reach Us which sounds like a less tangible Errors or much of the Leaf Label, they release themselves, breathing in long, heaving rhythms, reverb drenched vocals ushering in a climax of ringing tones that gradually shimmer into aching view. The Freedom To Fire Those Freedom Rockets employs similar ambience to Mogwai’s Come On Die Young, delicate strands of guitars gracefully moving through a liquid darkness, delayed ring modulation pealing off in ripples from the core. The trippingly clipped Will I Avenge Or Revenge? recalls 65 Days Of Static at their most pensive and restrained, but this never bursts into such cacophonous territories as they do, it’s contemplative nature occupying a region neither of the aforementioned post-rock pioneers have quite broached as effectively as Monsters Build Mean Robots.

How politicised can a mostly instrumental album be? The track titles convey enough of a sense of the incensed that the setting against music of such serene composure imparts the greater horror of being thoroughly chastised by someone remaining totally calm – far more intimidating than an enraged castigation. The final track asks Shall I Fill With Air? To which the reply must question: Is it to unleash the most withering of frustrated screams, or is it to float away into the pre-umbral ether of oblivion?


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