Music Reviews

Artist: Wrangler (@)
Title: White Glue
Format: CD + Download
Label: MemeTune Recordings
Wrangler have an unquestionable electronic pedigree- Cabaret Voltaire, Tunng, John Foxx & The Maths. With anything sonically possible in experimental electronics today, "White Glue" is pop music by comparison. The processed vocals and squealing TB-303-like noises were avantgarde in the 1980's but in 2016 it won't raise my eyebrows for being 'out there'. There are verses and choruses aplenty. On tracks like "Dirty" and the lead single "Stupid" there are immoderate doses of funk and some truly sexy synthesizers.

Only a few reverberant and sinister touches in the EQ stop some of these tracks drifting into Hot Chip territory. There's times at which you suspect this is what Depeche Mode would have sounded like if Vince Clarke had stayed in the band but Dave Gahan had still gone gothy. These might seem like throwaway pop comparisons but they're not unjustified.

"Clockwork" is a nod to Kraftwerk as far as the possibly-tongue-in-cheek vocal and the slowly ebbing pads, but not an all-out motorik tribute. "Stop" has similarly on-the-nose lyrics that leave you wondering whether Stephen Mallinder is singing them with his tongue just slightly in his cheek. "Real Life" is more authentically dark in the vocal experimentation, but still underpinned by a Giorgio Moroder-esque pulsing, poppy bassline.

In the final trio of tracks "Days" "Superset" and "Colliding" the lyrics thin out substantially, leaving more room for the atmospherics to shine through in some somewhat more chilled-out music that's a hard-to-pin-down blend of synthwave, early 90's ambient house and an 80's analogue synth society.

"White Glue" is the sound of some big names in electronic music, who may be slightly in denial about the extent to which they have mellowed with age.

This is also one of those releases where the artwork, reminiscent of early 90's acid house, doesn't seem to match the music.

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