‘Post Punk,’ is a term that is all too frequently quoted these days, but one that I have always been reluctant to use as it somehow seems a trifle unquantifiable. It could cover any of a multitude of sounds – and possibly misrepresent a similar number.
However with ‘Civilisation’ the penny has dropped. THIS is the sound that to me typifies and indeed merits the description.
ARTERY have of course been around for a while (or more accurately, have been away for a while) – twenty-seven years as it happens. 1984 it was that they last recorded an album – the cult ‘The Second Coming.’ But while ‘Civilisation’ still promotes that distinct early Eighties sound, it comes across as completely refreshing and relevant.
The mood is immediately set with the album’s artwork, which kind of makes me think of a post-apocalyptic Clockwork Orange. Indeed, the song titles convey a rather dark underbelly to the music. Try these for size:
‘Unfaithful Girlfriend;’ ‘The Stalker;’ ‘The Night An Angel Was Raped,’ and ‘Into Oblivion.’
The album gets off to an absolute flyer with ‘Standing Still.’ I’d say this was my favourite of all eleven tracks and ranks as one of the best songs I’ve heard this year! As with several others, the guitar riff has a slightly off-key feel while the vocals through the verses are verging on mono-toned and spoken, turning more pained and dramatic in the chorus.
‘The Prediction’ is slower in pace and more ‘industrial’ in sound, with Mark Gouldthorpe’s vocals still spat out in his own inimitable fashion, but in a deeper and more unsettling manner. As can be heard in other tracks, there is the occasional flash of discord like with Bowie’s ‘ Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps)’ era.
‘A Song For All The Lonely People,’ has more of a bounce and the vocals sounding decidedly more friendly although the backing rises to slightly manic proportions at points.
Throughout, despite the portrayal of a bleak and dystopian landscape, ‘Civilisation,’ refrains from descending into a morose or downbeat mode. Interest is preserved by loud and varied beats and rhythms, coupled with some really infectious riffs and synth swirls. The title track, for example, is very bass-heavy and pounds away with a wonderful monotony!
The band have also shown to any doubters that they are not simply reproducing distant echoes and relying on their past ‘cult’ status, by embracing the re-mix culture, with several available on You Tube, including the following version of ‘Unfaithful Girlfriend,’ featuring Adele of all people.
(Released through Twin Speed Records and in digital format through Cherry Red Records on 10th October 2011)
(9.5 / 10)