Perhaps the closest sonic analogy might be late '90s post-rock of the City Slang and Soul Static Sound variety, which Fenin’s earlier Shitkatapult 12” ‘Thrill’ also hinted at. There are guitars on ‘Miles and More’, for example, and the scratchy rhythms of the single ‘A Try’ could easily find themselves on to a To Rococo Rot album. ‘Elephants’, meanwhile, is abstract pop with clear dancefloor leanings and synthy pop beats.
Been Through is occasionally tense and brooding, such as on opener ‘Dub Eraldo – Intro’, made with Italian avante garde musician Eraldo Bernocchi, which is all dub pressure pulses and wobbleboard bass, or on the closing track ‘Years Ago’, which pairs a metronomic tin beat with dense hypnotic keyboards. In between, the mood is lighter: ‘Breakin’ is almost happy sounding, lifted up by it’s infectious (or infuriating, depending on your point of view) one finger keyboard melody and shuffling percussion.
Ghanaian-born Berliner Gorbi, who provided the vocals on several early Fenin singles, also adds to the retrospective dub flavour on four tracks. Unfortunately, his vocals on the single from the album ‘A Try’ and the electro pop cut ‘Colorfields’ follow almost the same melody line in parts, which undermines the effect. Gorbi is at his best on the cover of Neil Diamond ‘Red Red Wine’, which is transformed into an electronic roots reggae cover that is thankfully closer to Tony Tribe´s rocksteady version than the UB40 hit. Robert “Scorcha” Williams almost outdoes Gorbi on his one appearance with some heavy vocals on the sound system-esque ‘Complain’, but Gorbi is again in form on the excellent ‘I Guess’ where he lets himself get lost and loose in the hypnotic percussive maze. Importantly, Fenin seems to be content not to over-process any of the vocals, leaving them vulnerable, but also steering them well away from the clichéd dub territory of too many echoes and filters.
The albums greatest quality overall is its intelligence and control. No track is overly long and yet each has its own strong melodic current and well designed structure that develops as the track goes on –many even have short, elaborate codas. These details may give Been Through a weaving flow that adds interest, but overall there is a certain restraint to the record, which combined with the absence of a single binding idea leaves the album just short of being classic electronica.