Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers

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On the occasion of Andy Stott’s newest release making the rounds:

Critics keep shoving this guy in my face (my favorite: Resident Advisor setting Syro up to being the best album of 2014 and swiping the rug from underneath us by giving that accolade to this; not that I really cared since I thought Syro wasn’t all it was cracked up to be…more on that one some other time) and I keep listening to every new release even though they mostly go in one ear and out the other. Deconstructionist stuff that deconstructs the fun out of its genres – it takes about 10 minutes for this album to get going, and once “Violence” finally does (that drum-roll at the 4:03 mark!), it just reverts back to its punctuating pointillist spaced-out synth riff that’s kind of annoying; “Damage” is Stott at his most generic, with these metal scraps throughout to shoehorn in the apocalyptic atmosphere this guy’s always been interested in. Only two tracks impress: (1) “No Surrender”, whose intro I initially thought was unbearably cheesy due to its shimmering organ arpeggios, but then Stott swipes them away and introduces this chunky beat before eventually bringing back said arpeggios, but letting them disintegrate, cheese and all; and (2) the title track, which has gorgeous pads to sink your teeth into; great rhythm, and Alison Skidmore providing a wispy melodic component that gets swapped for a chainsaw halfway through.

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