Edgar Broughton

Super Chip: The Final Silicon Solution

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Super Chip: The Final Silicon Solution turned out to be the last studio release by Edgar Broughton in 1982. For those who were hooked on the raw, gritty, psychedelic and blues sonics of the original Edgar Broughton Band, this set, a concept album deeply rooted in electronic keyboards and new wave herky-jerky tempos, had to be a shock -- if they even cared at this point -- and there is every evidence to suggest, historically, that they didn't give a rip. Musically, Super Chip was deeply influenced by Bill Nelson's latter day Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise projects, but it's not nearly as innovative as either. Culturally, the band found inspiration in reacting against Thatcherism (as it had in being political since its earliest days), and embracing new wave, albeit way too late as post-punk was beginning to wind down and give way to the sheeny New Romantic synthesizer driven pop that would put a half-dozen bands on the charts. Alas, it should feel cynical, but it's not; it's simply naïve. There are a couple of cuts here, such as "Metal Sunday," that opens the disc and has a certain Nelson-esque charm, and the brief "Not So Funny Farm," which has a cool guitar riff that sounds like something off Blue Öyster Cult's Tyranny and Mutation melded with quirky, off-kilter vocals. That's about it except for the 17-plus minute "The Virus" added as a bonus cut on the CD. It sounds like something from early electro and house. Disembodied machine voices give a sterile narrative explaining what the virus is. Its deep big beat is infectious for the first nine minutes before it slips off into hippie-dippie speculative synth ambience with bird and ocean sounds and an acoustic piano for its final eight minutes, like a tossed-off Mike Oldfield recording. Forget this one; it's just plain bad.

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