Industrial music with a typically excellent Broken English Club twist.
The label describes White Rats, the first part of a trilogy, as "a collection of caustic and absurd portraits of the human animal." A couple are farcical. Besides "Animal Town," there's "Stab Boy," where each plunging kick is followed by Ho saying "skin" with a sneer. (The frantic woodwind, which gives it a jarringly celebratory edge, makes it an album highlight.) Others are made grim by their contact with reality. "Tarmac Paradise" opens with a true-crime TV monologue about the serial killer Dennis Nilsen. In a line that underscores the album's violence-as-entertainment theme, the presenter insists the controversial interview with Nilsen would "help British investigators understand the mind of a serial murderer"—that is, them and several million others. In amongst all this are a couple of casually excellent club tracks, "Let's Play" and "God Man Dog."
Ho's depictions of JG Ballard-inspired dystopias have rarely been so vivid. This owes as much to the music as his pulpy vignettes. Intense beams of synth and drone make several of these tracks unusually epic and expansive. The opener, "Joy Scar," sets the tone with throaty electric guitar that adds colour to Ho's clacking percussion and '80s drum fills. The mosquito-symphony chords on "Funny Games" fill the void he once referred to as an "estranged heaviness." (There's less of that on this LP, though it survives in Ho's impassive delivery, on "Anonymous Death Tape," as he reads out a psychological profile in the first person.) However morbid things get, it's clear how much fun Ho is having here. It's not hard to see why—as Broken English Club, he's making some of the best music of his career.