This debut from the German duo Y-Luk-O is in it's own way quite unusual as they seem intent on giving industrial music a bit of a shake up.It's not that the music is out and out experimental as the songs are definately accessable enough it's more the case that there is usually something slightly offbeat going on just underneath.Sometimes it doesn't quite come off as in the case of the oddly titled "Crack It With Walnuts" which, despite a promising start with a dancey synthetic rhythm has a habit of descending into an abstract soundpool of noise and voice effects which soon gets a bit tiresome.
For the most part the album is pretty mid-paced with only the live track "Shallow Beliefs" (unless the crowd noises were added merely for effect!) being the exception to the rule,with a pacey old school EBM style not unlike Fortification 55.Within this framework the layers of industrial sounds are expertly structured while the songs themselves show a few novel touches such as the rapidly spoken vocals on "Pointless" (not quite rap but getting pretty close) and the telephone answering machine on "+1 (630) 257 6106" (wonder who that number belongs to?) which, in league with an infectious chorus makes for an early highlight to the album. "S.K.E.S." is another much better example of the band's capabilities, mixing industrial backing with more accessable tuneful elements and churning rhythms like machines incessantly turning.The use of piano, mixed with the industrial elements is the sort of thing Project Pitchfork have always been good at and although the track as a whole doesn't actually sound like them there is a touch of Peter Spilles in the vocals.
The subject of suicide raises it's head during "Satomi" (Interlude No.8), which opens and closes with an excerpt spoken by a woman who has attempted it in the past and wishes to do so again.This proves quite chilling due to the matter-of-fact way she discusses such a massive subject although the highly catchy chorus hardly echoes the sombre theme, perhaps focusing on it as a form of release.
As the album draws to a close the gently unfolding sombreness of "Red" proves to be a previously unsuspected strength of the band as the swelling synth chords touch the listener's heart and soul before "S.K.E.S. Pt.2" closes the album with another rhythmless offering.A story without words unfolds due to the repeated and amusing answerphone messages from an obviously smitten man being answered by that of his unappreciative ex-girlfriend.Bellatedly the vocal line from the original "S.K.E.S" emerges from the musical ether as the piece reaches it's conclusion.
This is an album seemingly intended less for the dancefloor as the multi-faceted music offers plenty of scope for deeper listening and if the band can develop this style further then they could be really onto something special.
Artist Link: http://www.sonic-x.de