Erol Alkan's 2008 production 'Holy Trinity' draws to a close, with Late Of The Pier's Fantasy Black Channel following on from first the Mystery Jet's Twenty One and the Long Blonde's Couples.
The fact that a band like Late Of The Pier are getting the kind of mainstream attention they are really is a sign of the times and a testiment to their forebears. The sound of earlier pioneers such as Soulwax (more of whom soon) and the initial post-electroclash wave are all over this. And that is a good thing because it gives those that know more great music but it also further blows open the whole scene.
But enough chat. Fantasy Black Channel delivers, just as that recenty reviewed album by another band in the third wave of the dance / rock crossover does. In fucking spades.
Fantasy Black Channel is the air raid siren that signifies the end of the beginning for an entire genre: check out the opening synths of 'Space of the Woods'. They're so thick you can chew on those bastards as the ooze out of your speakers. When singer Samuel Eastgate indicates it's time to don a radiation suit you just might begin to worry there is something toxic in those basslines. The previously released single 'The Bears Are Coming' still fidgets and scratches like a bed of itching powder - warbling basslines and squelching drums contrasting beautifully to a the yelp of the bridge - whilst 'Random Firl' shows a more playful, sexy side.
And there is plenty of play and drama here - check out 'Whitesnake' and you can hear references to not just punk but maybe even some Deep Purple (deliberate given the name?) in the chugging bass and some Queen in the sheer over-the-top-ness of it all.
Overall Fantasy Black Channel sounds post-apocalyptic whilst managing to take this cliché and make it fresh. There are references throughout the lyrics but it is also in the music itself, in the dischordant and self-destructive melodies of 'VW' and 'Focker' for example, that this determinism shines through.
Some may try and call this album derivative - it is certainly more evolution than revolution - but there is no doubt that Late Of The Pier push harder, better, faster, stronger than their peers. The Klaxons have there work cut out for them if they are going to top the sheer spirit here. By the time the frenetic coupling of "get your hands on your waistline / and move your body to the bassline" arrives in the glam-opera closer (and past single) 'Bathroom Gurgle' and you progress to the subsequent ghost track that follows BlackPlastic's money is on you agreeing on this one.