• alec empire The Golden Foretaste of Heaven (CD, £4.40)

    label: digital hardc*re recordings

    REVIEW FROM THE LINE OF BEST FIT: To save you skipping to the end to see the score, I gave this pseudo-90s euro-goth electronica throwback 74%. A bit high after that mini appraisal, you might think. Let me explain. As far as cred goes, Alex Empire has it in spades. In fact, he has it in lorryloads of big, leather-clad pointy spades poured into a big dark pit, with spikes in. Producer, remixer, DJ and the man behind Atari Teenage Riot, he has made noisy songs by the likes of Jon Spencer and Slayer even noisier and toured with everyone from Moby to Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine. And that’s without talking about all the dark, brooding films his music has graced, and the awards that adorn his black basement from the likes of Kerrang. No shrinking violet then. So, for goth cred, he gets a big fat 100%. So what made him make an album that would’ve been frightened by your Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 albums back in the late 80s and early 90s? It’s all so camp and sleazy – telltale Gary Numan keyboard sounds abound, but with spoken German vocals poured over the top of unimaginative dance patterns. Titles like ‘Robot L.O.V.E.’ and ‘Death Trap in 3D’ don’t help, and at times you really do think he must be taking the piss. This is the man behind industrial meeting techno and thrash and kicking their respective arses? Please. But then, taken as basic alternative pop, which it is, The Golden Foretaste of Heaven is thoroughly enjoyable. Tongue in cheek, retro, danceable; it’s a teenie goth’s pre-Friday night in the park album by numbers and, hey, why not? The man himself believes the best way to connect with young Berliners is, once again, in the clubs – and not with a sledgehammer, but with a melody. And I’m not going to argue with a man with that much cred – or that many pointy spades. 74% (told you)


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