The Durutti Column

Sex & Death

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Sex & Death Review

by Ned Raggett

The first Durutti release on the reorganized Factory Too label, Sex and Death is Reilly once again coaxing lovely magic from his chosen instruments -- no change there, then. With the ever-present Mitchell assisting him on drums and another variety of assisting players -- old bandmate Metcalfe back again with some viola, album co-producer Stephen Street helping with a bit of bass (as does New Order's Peter Hook), three guest singers, and more -- Reilly again serves up a smart set of songs. His generally up-to-the-minute approach to recording and performing still in place, Reilly embraces breakbeat culture via hip-hop loops at points while otherwise following his particular muse as he chooses. "The Rest of My Life" could and should have been a hit single, a sharp, funky rhythm the bed for a great, slightly twangy series of guitar lines and a softly sung female vocal, intertwining just so. Meanwhile, "The Next Time" is a touch straightforward even for Reilly, with Rob Gray's passionate lead vocal soaring over the delicate soloing and big, at-times arena rock-level drums from Mitchell, which Reilly then matches with a duly bolstered but still clean rip. Interests from here and there suggest themselves throughout -- "Fado," for instance, refers to the traditional song style of Portugal, and has an air about it from that background. Other songs recall the murkier beginnings of Reilly's work, like "For Collette," Metcalfe's plucked strings echoing off into the distance over a fragile, barely there lead melody accompanied by a simple three-note loop on synth, all of which develops into another quietly triumphant anthem. He saves a sly joke for the end -- "Blue Period," not so much referring to an artistic period by anyone or another as it does the fact the song itself is a classic blues lick revamped in Reilly's own preferred playing style.

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