Attack Formation

We Are Alive in Tune

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The third album by the mysterious Austin collective Attack Formation provides more of the bewildering same as their first two. We Are Alive in Tune is, at heart, a quirky electronic pop album, but there are so many cooks in this kitchen that shards of hip-hop, experimental sound collage, hardcore punk riffage, unexpectedly poppy indie rock, and just plain noise percolate through the tracks to the point that songs like "Black Magic" at times quite literally sound like three or four different songs playing at once. The disorienting musical shifts are clearly the entire point, so the easiest way to approach We Are Alive in Tune is the same spirit as those exceedingly doctrinaire British post-punk records of the late '70s. (Attack Formation even have a similar bare-bones graphic design aesthetic, as far as that goes.) Entertainment in the familiar sense is almost beside the point here, but if listened to in the right frame of mind, the shift from the hectoring ska-punk of "Two Daughters, Pt. 2 to the weedy synths and nervous vocals of "Hours" some deeper truth about the unconscious reification of the hegemony underpinning modern industrial society or...something. Or you could just listen to some old Scritti Politti and Au Pairs singles. That works, too, and is undoubtedly a lot more fun.

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