New York City's long-reigning experimental electronics collective Excepter went through a period of great transition following their massive 2010 double album Presidence. Member Clare Amory died of cancer in 2011 and other members of the band relocated shortly afterwards. Familiar, the first work from the band after regrouping, finds the collective still incredibly strange, but moving their free-form electronics and Kraut/early-industrial-inspired sound closer to the realm of pop music. Opening track "Maids" is a song that's possibly as tuneful and direct as any Excepter have managed, and they even offer up a relatively unbroken rendition of Tim Buckley's yearning folk classic "Song for a Siren." The noisy whirr of "Destroy" was recorded in collaboration between bandmember Nathan Corbin and Amory when she was fighting her disease. The song's pained sonics serve as a therapeutic and harrowing high point for a record that stands out as a brand-new chapter for this always challenging noise-minded entity.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas