Long gone are the days when electronically based pop music fell into one of two camps: dance or ambient. Thankfully, people like Photek and Add N To (X) have destroyed the pre-conception that synthesised sounds and processed beats automatically result in necking 12 Es down Liquid nightclub before succumbing to the eventual chill-out sounds of whales injecting themselves with guppy vomit over a badly fingered Moog.
Scottish duo The Chymes have taken the synchronised bleeps and squawks characterised by early Warp Records artists like LFO and The Aphex Twin and moulded them with some of the most honeydripping harmonies this side of 'Isn't Anything'.
Before your brain goes into overdrive and your synapses curl up at the thought of another electroclash album, don't switch off just yet as 'Written In Squares' possesses more than just an arty cover that would double up at 'Trash' as a glowing fashion accessory.
Whilst the awkward rumbling keyboards on both 'Calling All Cars' and 'Retina Burn' wouldn't sound out of place at the aforementioned fashionistas ball, 'Written In Squares' really takes off when its creators Simon Rutherford and Alan Grant share vocal duties in perfect harmony like Shields & Butcher or Gardener & Bell in their class of '91 heyday.
'Pendulum' drifts along like Ride's 'Vapour Trail' before a noisy burst of electronic mayhem a la Echoboy gradually rips the song in two, Rutherford's paean "Don't fight the feeling that you thought you had left behind in a different time" prophetically standing out above the icy beats and breakloops. Meanwhile, 'Open Grave' recalls the heady days of Ian Brown and Reni's vocal duet on 'Made Of Stone' over a floaty backdrop of synths and tremelo-heavy guitars.
It's an album that serves a dual purpose by being both dancefloor friendly and ambient without ever resorting to mindnumbing Zero 7 style absurdity best left for people who like eating olives on sticks.
7Dom Gourlay's Score