Front Line Assembly

State of Mind

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Front Line Assembly's second album (the second of three released in three months in late '87 and early '88) shows the prolific Vancouver-based duo at the peak of their early style, which is basically that of a Canadian Cabaret Voltaire. Less aggressive and sample-based than their compatriots Skinny Puppy (which songwriter Bill Leeb used to be a member of; the Pup's Dave Ogilvie co-produced State of Mind), Front Line Assembly married doomy electronic keyboards and percussion to a live-sounding bass and drum whomp, creating a more purely dance-oriented sound. The instruments are up front, and the supposedly menacing found-sound vocal samples are mixed well to the rear, which is basically the only difference between songs like the throbbing "Inside Out" and mid-period Cabaret Voltaire albums like Micro-Phonies. State of Mind is danceable and occasionally sonically intriguing, but it's also a little too plainly derivative to be taken entirely seriously.

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