Pan Sonic

Resurrection River

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The second collaborative effort from Suicide's Alan Vega and the Pan Sonic duo, Resurrection River is almost a curio on first blush -- appearing some seven years after Endless, it automatically calls back memories of an already distant history, in musical and other terms. That said, the way the opening title track honestly slams -- with a crisp central riff and a tightly wound beat, Pan Sonic arguably have never sounded quite so funky, either on their own or with Vega -- immediately gets everything off to a good start, Vega's echoed vocals stalking the music like a snarling ghost. Vega's mutated, reverbed Elvis still stands him in good stead over 30 years after the start of Suicide, affectation long since transformed into unique strength, and his spat/sung invocations of crumbling, disturbed institutions, romance, and cities still retain a dramatic power. (If nothing is "Frankie Teardrop," "Job Blue" works the calm/raging alternation pretty well, while "Chrome Z-Fighters 2003," with a distinctly Martin Rev-sounding background texture, shows his fascination for technological/war intersections is far from over.) As Endless demonstrated, set against Pan Sonic's compressed electronic atmospherics -- dark basslines looming in the distance on "I Got Wheels, I Got Nails," slow, unfolding drones on "It Was Her Eyes," metronomic growls on "Black Crucifix" -- the results can be compelling. Resurrection River's variety all around serves it well -- for instance, consider how Vega's work on "Desperate Nation" is set deep in the mix, distanced along with a murky, fuzzy rhythm while a serene drone melody is predominant, contrasted with the much more minimal, glitch-twinged "So Tired." Pan Sonic's countryman Jimi Tenor turns up for a guest spot on "11:52 PM," adding a murky organ turn to a song that sounds not unlike Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds grinding themselves into a slow-motion apocalypse, all queasy tones and steady, relentless beat with Vega's rasping howl interjecting.

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