Saturday, 21 August 2010

Forever Dancing // Masks // (fear & records)

A record with the word "dancing" used to be a pretty straightforward signifier that it was a dance record. But perhaps I have been jaded by songs like We still got the taste of dancing on our tongues by Wild Beasts so that now the word "dancing"seems too eerily simplistic to be used in the title of a dance song. The word is superfluous: if you are meant to dance to a song, you'll know about it by listening to it, and besides, "dancing" seems too twee a label, when compared with "skank".

Anyway, the eponymous opener does nothing to change my view of that word, as Forever Dancing opens with a jangly guitar line, but soon a monolithic and distorted guitar rumble piles on top, and so the record goes: the two piece add layer upon layer to their sound creating a dense but penetrable wall of noise. They harness the sound with a repetitive and fairly simple drum beat, but their biggest trick is an apparently offbeat electronic high hat that spontaneously joins the pounding bass and snare drums, a similar trick seen on many dance (there's that word again) records, revealing an innate rhythmic core.

Tribal Fangs doesn't hesitate with the house influence, opening with a four-on-the-floor beat, as an abrasive guitar noise rises. Masks make the best of the contrasting ideals of dance beats and noise music, much like Fuck Buttons on their second album, but here the songs are shorter and more accessible whilst including a more upfront melancholic edge; there is a definite shoegaze undercurrent on these tracks also. Unfortunately, the middle track I covered myself in furs plays the emotional edge too far forward and seems like it is trying too hard to be "epic", which is a shame as the second half is stellar.

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