Experiment Below

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The title of Hovercraft's second recording for Mute is wholly appropriate, given their tendency to treat the recording studio as some kind of laboratory. Nearly impossible to describe, the instrumental sounds here are never soothing, even though Sadie 7 (aka Beth Liebling, aka Mrs. Eddie Vedder) certainly is capable of playing a lush bass guitar. But the screeching, scratching sonics of Campbell 2000's guitar takes her lullaby rhythms and turns them inside out. While not a sign of conformity by any means, Below finds Hovercraft offering up more structure, orchestrating stronger dramatic climaxes than in their previous work, and knowing when to pull the plug on the atonal moments. Some songs, like the ghostly "Phantom Limb" or the static-embraced "Transmitter" even cry out similarities to the blackened spirit of Joy Division in their most saddened state. This is challenging music that certainly has its rewards for those patient enough to hang around.

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