Fever Ray’s To The Moon and Back: a kinky slice of squelchy synth-pop

Also this week: Franz Ferdinand get lost without Nick McCarthy and Morrissey brings weaponised loneliness


Fever Ray
To the Moon and Back

Drop everything, quit your jobs, leave your families: Karin Dreijer Andersson is back. Fever Ray’s first in eight years is a gloopy hyperactive squid of synth lines that feel like they’ve been generated not only on computers but by computers. “Hey, remember me? I’ve been busy working like crazy,” KDA commences, like one of those rappers who always has to over-explain their absence at the start of a new cut, before she drops a gratuitous genitalia reference that would make Miguel wince. Thug life, huh?

Franz Ferdinand
Always Ascending

Franz are crossing a bridge many of their generation are dealing with: what does a 00s indie band do when it loses a founding member? Newly without Nick McCarthy, the answer is initially promising: there’s a dashing Ulysses jitter in the drums and an intriguing Escher-staircase chord progression. But then Alex Kapranos strikes a particularly fruity croon in the chorus, and you realise he doesn’t know where this song is heading, either.

I Wish You Lonely

Now that Louis Theroux has begun recording voiceovers for a Therouxbot (“I’m in Madagascar to meet Anna, a kitchen porter turned sex cult leader who believes eating popcorn betrays God”), Morrissey demos a Mozbot. The loneliness is weaponised: torture for enemies, where once it was a personal lament. It does resurrect some of the old gunpowder genius in the final lines: “I wish you lonely, like the last tracked humpback whale / Chased by gunships from Bergen”.

John Maus

Maus, a former professor and effete vaporwave tramp, best known as a “fan” of cultural theorist Theodor Adorno, has written the world’s least convincing paen to gridiron: “Go for the touchdown / Forward drive across the line”, he mumbles above the theme to a lost Airwolf spinoff about a sentient computerised tackle bag. It’s great, in other words, as masterful as a Tom Brady field goal scrimmage into the end zone (or something).

Take Down the House

Promiseland, Melbourne’s Johann Rashid, is a Julian Casablancas protege; he is putting this out on his label. Though “putting this out” is misleading; it practically launches itself. A snarling Bauhaus/witch house banger, it’s the soundtrack to mining Bitcoin in an abandoned abattoir to pay for the sextortion of climate activists, and would probably be considered “a bit much” for the Camp X-Ray torture playlist. In short, a primer in everywhere Trent Reznor went wrong in four handy minutes.


Gavin Haynes

The GuardianTramp

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