That track sets the tone for The Desecration Of Desire, Clarke's first LP since 2003's Devil's Advocate. Where his previous output consisted of clear, razor-sharp dance cuts, this record begins with "Exquisite," a grimy stew of churning guitars and broken beats. It gets murkier from there, taking cues from the post-punk and industrial of bands like Bauhaus and Cabaret Voltaire.
The LP has several guest vocalists, each of whom personifies the album's bleak mood. "I'm Not Afraid" has political lyrics—"men in bowlers... skim the public for all they're worth"—but Anika's delivery sounds detached rather than defiant. Other vocals are more abstract, like Lanegan's on "Monochrome Sun," whose portentous words are almost lost within its inferno-like distortion. On "Cover Up My Eyes," Gazelle Twin's lyrics are initially hard to make out, but, as she half-whispers about "tearing into someone else's flesh," the menace is clear.
The exception is "Plasmatic," a pile-driving techno track that streaks like a firework through the album's otherwise slow and shadowy atmosphere. As a producer of pure dance floor techno, it shows Clarke still blows most of the competition away, but including it here is a risk. It's a glimpse of the album Clarke's fanbase probably anticipated, instead of the industrial, EBM and post-punk influences he's given them. The LP might not be to the taste of those expecting the former, but Clarke sounds reinvigorated here. It's clear he feels he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself.
Sat / 18 Nov 2017
02. Is Vic There? feat. Louisahhh
03. Frisson feat. Mt. Sims
05. Dot Forty One (Mute)
06. Charcoal Eyes (Glass Eyes) feat. Mark Lanegan
07. Monochrome Sun feat. Mark Lanegan
08. Cover Up My Eyes feat. Gazelle Twin
09. I'm Not Afraid feat. Anika
10. Death Of Pythagoras