Autumn feels conceptual but not calculated, enlivened by its host of influences rather than imprisoned by them. It recalls Thomas Brinkmann's When Horses Die, except this record sounds much more lively and organic, staying on the dance floor, playing off the energy of a collaboration that allows each party the freedom to do what they're best at. Miller's icy rasping floats disembodied over crisp 808 rumble, producing a gaping abyss between man and machine, the two sides in concert, dancing around a void, like Plastikman playing host to Ian Curtis.
The vocals rarely turn into actual singing—sometimes, as on "She" it carries on a background narration, elsewhere like in "So This Is Control" it blurts out disjointed declarations. Only on the album single "Shine" do they approach something like a pop tune, where vocal melody and chords rise out of the ice and shadows to coalesce into a sliver of a catchy hook. Pierce keeps full command of his stone-gray techno palette, always doing more with less, creating a shadowy but minimal murk, abundant with low-end and dashes of eerie frozen synthesizers.
Things crest with "Nothing More Than a White Poison," where Pierce's electronics threaten to swallow Miller's brutish come-ons altogether, as if the delirious swell of a drunken libido would rip the speaking ego to shreds, leaving behind only blind, bestial compulsion. The club hosts a horror show: think the opening to Tony Scott's vampire flick The Hunger, with Bauhaus playing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" while Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie fatally seduce two hapless, horny club-kids. A similar bloodlust runs throughout Autumn, that of the solitary predator, friendless and hungry, each tune the sound of his claws dragging across the barren earth.