The work of Lisa Eriksson (drums/guitar/bass/vocals) and Ryan Harlin (percussion/piano/strings/vocals), the CD comes with a California State health warning. No, this doesn’t seem to refer to the audio content (a kind of New-Wave take on vocal house/trance), but to the fact that small children could choke on the packaging – don’t worry guys – I took it straight to me mam, who opened it for me! She said that trees don’t die because of the ‘Carbon Neutral’ properties, and I said that trees don’t listen to CD’s do they? She told me off for being cheeky.
Emptiness and restrospective glances at the past combine as house opener ‘Repeat To Fade’ stutters to a spitting, crackling conclusion, before the layered trance of ‘Unbelievable’ kicks in. ‘Ecstatic’ continues the thousand-yard stare. At once soothing and wistful, there’s a cling-to-life ethic taking shape already, along with a melancholic outlook. According to the lyrical content, it’s ‘already too late’ but that must be a self-reflexive reference to the timing of this release, which comes seventeen or so years after ‘The Secret Life Of Trance’ and all the other crustie-dance stuff that spearheaded the commercial dance revolution.
Kicking it up a notch, ‘Music Is My Drug’ speaks to us all, whether your penchant is for fractured disco-freak head mashing beat driven house or not. Just as “Love is…..”, so “Music Is….”. Makes sense to me anyway. Eriksson’s vocals glide over the bleeping, warped fractals that bubble out of the speakers. Half-abstract, she sings of habits that cannot be broken, fate/inherited traits and irreversible processes.
Tree-hugging, yes - but also urgent, compulsive and from‘within you’. ‘Hurt Me’ skids and slides across the head as it pumps in time with your heartbeat, the relentless pulse defying frequencies until surrender to the beat is the only possible outcome. Beats broken into a million pieces by the sub-bass, the toffee-hammering carries on with a nod and a smile to the sado-masochistic intent held within.
‘South Of Colorado’ is another head-spinning journey through inner cyberspace. Skipping and spluttering, the momentum gathers nicely, and you could lose your head in this.
You can’t measure it all in beats-per-minute though. ‘Lightbulb’ takes its shape from a guitar arpeggio, and ‘Everything’ is almost acapella, save for the understated synth/keys.
TECHNO SQUIRRELS have hoarded some strange techniques from my own dancefloor childhood, and represented them with a sense of sadness – what’s gone is gone, I guess. That seems to be the message, although the dance factory quality control would pass most of what’s on offer here.