Leæther Strip

After the Devastation

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Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the fact that Claus Larsen has returned to his mid-'90s electronic/industrial/darkwave alias Leaether Strip for the first time in nearly a decade is the fact that After the Devastation is a two-disc set largely inspired by the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. (There is also a special limited-edition three-disc set with a bonus remix EP, as well as a hyper-limited collector's edition with the whole kit and caboodle in a special messenger bag plus extra goodies.) Of course, other than some pointed samples of newscasts and first-person monologues (relating not only to Katrina but to other high-profile atrocities and social injustices of the new millennium's first decade), the political commentary is largely subsumed by Larsen's usual dark synths and crisp electronic beats. Even the small handful of songs with lyrics beyond a simple repetition of the chorus rarely venture further than to grasp slogans. As with previous albums by the Leaether Strip, the real point of After the Devastation is in Larsen's cool, stylish, club-centered rhythms, and as long as the listener isn't expecting instant-reportage lyrics in the manner of Bob Dylan circa 1963, those rhythms are reason enough to be drawn to these 24 pieces.

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