WRANGLER: LA Spark LP/CD MemeTune
Much is to be expected from London based Wrangler, upon noting their ranks contain ex-Cabaret Voltaire man Stephen Mallinder, Phil Winter of Tunng and Benge of John Foxx fame; as expectations are immediately set to a high level of anticipation.
‘Theme From Wrangler’ doesn’t disappoint as an opening gambit, with whispering visceral vocals, cutting through an electronic obscure, analogue glide; floating across a sea of drum machines and rich bass attack. In contrast, ‘Lava Land’ owes more to the earlier works of John Foxx, delving into more marketable territory as 80’s danceable synth is spliced apart with more Voltaire-isms than you can shake a stick at; and is as infectious as it is disconcerting.
‘Music IIC’ plays on Kraftwerk sensibilities, whilst ‘Space Ace’ thuds along in repetitive percussive and pulsating fashion; only to be bettered with the paranoid and psychotic ‘Harder’ that weaves, bobs and turns and pulls on all their influences overall, as one long unsettling journey.
Channelling Dark Ambient territory, the eighth and closing track to this album ‘Peace and Love’ is anything but, in a musical sense. Maybe this is all the love (and indeed the peace) that these stalwarts can offer us, as the grinding electronics come to a staggering halt. One thing is for certain; and that is, I do have a lot of love for the majority of this release.
British music has always revelled in its pioneer status and Wrangler hark bark to era where artists from these shores flew that flag with a vengeance. There is something wonderfully comforting about ‘LA Spark’ for an older listener such as myself, as the cycle of sound spins full circle; and back to an age, where there was an integrity to creating music as an art form that should be revered.