Blackouts CD review [K]



Music Reviews
Blackouts CD review [K]
By
Nov 2, 2004, 17:56

BLACKOUTS History In Reverse CD

So here's American Industrial Rock's dirty little secret: the pioneers were all a buncha Anglophile poofters! Though this is no secret to anyone with a copy of the first electro-popperific Ministry album plus band mainstay Al Jourgeson's previous outfit, The Imports, who were even more devoted to copping British style; their one 7” an indictment that strived to emulate Unknown Pleasures-era Joy Division.

More evidence for the prosecution is found on History In Reverse, the extant recordings of Blackouts, home to Paul Barker, who'd join Al in Ministry, and Bill Rieflin who tagged along but kept his options open. (Bill also played with Nine Inch Nails, Swans and Revolting Cocks among others.)

History In Reverse functions as a handy primer on the cooler and darker aspects of early 80s UK indie rock. It's easy enough to spot the influences from song to song: The Cure, Bauhaus, Psychedelic Furs, Public Image, et al. Still, they didn't simply copy their heroes, instead they mixed elements of style from different bands within single songs and wound up forging an overall coherent style; I won't say “original” coz its highly derivative, but it was clever and effective. It also helped that Blackouts delivered all this with driving rhythms, pushed along by huge crunchy bass licks and pounding drums and that most songs benefited from bright, spiky guitar hooks too.

So while the overwrought vocalizing and atmospheric touches of synthesized chimes, xylophones, and whatever else exotic pre-sets their Casios had in those days—and were de rigeur as hell—the ultimate effect was nonetheless catchy and had a nice element of whomp ass.

Yeah, be more then fair to say, Blackouts were the Arcade Fire of their day! [K]

-Howard Wuelfing


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