This is the second collaborationbetween Ultravox man John Foxx andLouis Gordon, and the staring eye of the coveris something of a guide to what lies ahead.
Foxx andGordon have cultivated an electro sound with its rootsfirmly in the ’80s synth-pop of Depeche Modeand The Human League, with Foxx’s deadpandelivery often reminiscent of the Sisters OfMercy‘s Andrew Eldritch – a far more sinistercomparison.
The album reminds me of foraysinto ‘dance’ music by people such as Gary Moore andJeff Beck in its slightly clumsy treatment of rhythm.Foxx fares well though, as his predominant subjectmatter is technology in the forms of transport, randomaccess memory and infrared to name a few examples. Thestark titles – Crash And Burn, Sex Video, She Robot,Ray 1 / Ray 2 – hint at a darkness that pervades eachsong. In the David Lynch-esque Cinema this is mosteffective, a swing beat uneasily cast against Foxx’sedgy “let’s go out tonight” vocal.
Meanwhile Dust AndLight is a highly charged electro track with amemorable riff and distinctive vocal colours. Somesongs are more obviously updated for the present day,dressed in four to the floor house beats that can becuriously undanceable – an example being the openerDrive, a cousin to the Mode’s Behind The Wheel, or theandroid tones of Ultraviolet / Infrared, where Foxx’sdark lyrics return to haunt him. Surprisingly thingslighten up for the last two numbers, the jaunty Ray 1/ Ray 2 and the softer beats of the epilogue.
With dance music on the back ofan ‘Electroclash’ craze thanks to labels such as CityRockers and acts such as Fischerspooner, Crash AndBurn could well find a place in this section of arecord collection.
As a picture of early 21st centurylife it is openly realistic, hinting at a progressionto a Blade Runner society of replicants. This may putoff those of you who subscribe to a brighter outlook,but if you like a bit of darkness and know a thing ortwo about Ultravox, go and satisfy your curiosity.