Brainiac

Electro-Shock for President

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Brainiac's last release, Electro Shock for President, underlines the tragedy of Tim Taylor's untimely death; the EP's six songs find the group in the middle of a creative renaissance, moving away from their crazed, guitars-and-Moogs sound toward a colder, increasingly electronic, yet equally distinctive style. "Fresh New Eyes"' ping-ponging synths and static-burst percussion introduce this darker, more ominous Brainiac sound, while "Flash Ram" upgrades their skronky punk into cybernetic thrash, complete with robotic singing. Similarly, "Mr. Fingers" fuses the choppy noisebursts of Hissing Prigs in Static Couture with the EP's buzz-and-bleep aesthetic. Tracks like "Fashion 500" and "Turnover" are even more surprising, discarding much of the group's strategically chaotic noise for tense, implosive synths and muffled vocals. Though it was intended as a teaser for their fourth album, Electro Shock for President remains one of Brainiac's most interesting efforts, reflecting their ever-evolving style, which embraced electronica, new wave, and even industrial elements, as well as pop, punk, and noise. The EP's only flaw is that it -- like Brainiac's career -- ends all too quickly, reinforcing the incomplete feeling that surrounds the group's sad, abrupt end.

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