Helen and Chris Hamilton build songs like Skynet builds Terminators – storming cities with an artillery of intelligently programmed, mercurial beats at their beck and call. Songs that rip apart soundscapes in a skittering shower of rat-a-tat machine gun fire and pierce the club air like two glowing red eyes of gloom.
SO when latest single ‘Wait’ surfaced online, I was a little surprised to hear how stripped back and breezy the band sounded in comparison. Gone are the claustrophobic clatters and assassinative sci-fi synths, instead we have the Death Rattle equivalent of a naked (and well-ventilated) Arnold Schwarzenneger; showing off their oiled up ‘n perkier pop muscles.
However, despite the song’s shinier, more melodic arrangement, there’s a greater sense of susceptibility to its skin that helps the Hamiltons retain their trademark electro-somberness. Something fragile and beautifully haunting you just can’t turn away from, like a flap of exposed wiring sparking wildly beneath the well-presented surface. The track could even be the sequel to Depeche Mode’s ‘Precious’, set almost 10 years in the ash-laden future.
I say ‘something’ fragile but it’s actually quite blinkin’ obvious, as Helen’s achingly tender lyrics shimmer like fresh sunburn “I’ve been crying the wrong tears”…
While her gorgeously clear voice sounds like it’s unshelled itself from a chrome egg – free from the murk and steel of previous production styles/artistic direction (all of which I’m equally a fan of), it runs smoothly out of the speakers like sonic yolk.
So just listen to this, if you want to live:
You can pre-order ‘Wait’ by Death Rattle (out May 5th) via limbrecords.com