Wrangler's White Glue features new nine new tracks, recorded with the 3-D depth of analogue (the ancient synthesizers in Bengeâ€™s MemeTune Studios have never sounded so good) but thereâ€™s less geek and more funk; more Mod than Modular in the new album's tailored, minimalist design. Stephen Mallinderâ€™s vocals are a surreal joy, smeared with effects and electronics as they change, chant and shift around the jump-cut lyrics.
The opening trio of â€˜Alpha Omegaâ€™, â€˜Stupidâ€™ (Mallinder in a new mutant funk-falsetto) and â€˜Clockworkâ€™ (a nod to Kraftwerk who famously name-checked Cabaret Voltaire as â€˜brothers in popular electronic musicâ€™) sets up White Glue with the crisp crack and thud of sequenced rhythms and lush synthesizers.
â€˜Dirtyâ€™ starts like something from Forbidden Planet, pauses for a moment and then slams into a compelling funk beat with a bristling guitar riff courtesy of Julie Campbell (LoneLady). Mallinder delivers one of the most memorable vocals of his career â€“ venting, sliding and punching through the layers of noise with real urgency and bile.
He employs his voice-instrument to more measured effect on â€˜Stopâ€™ but itâ€™s no less hypnotic â€“ a feverish guilt-mantra of out-of-control consumerism: â€˜Stop spending money that you donâ€™t have/Stop buying shit that you donâ€™t need.â€™ As the synths wail like sirens, you can picture Winter and Benge swaying to the beats, heads-down, lost in the propulsive, (artificial) hand-clapping groove.
The white-light-techno-rush, triggered synths and chopped-up, multi-layered vocals of â€˜Real Lifeâ€™â€“ surely deserving of its own 12 inch vinyl release at some point - is followed by â€˜Daysâ€™ which slowly loops in and then flicks off the safety catch with heavy bass and moody synth lines.
Mallinder offers another striking vocal which seems to self-describe his own writing methods - â€˜moving pictures come in flashes.â€™ â€˜Supersetâ€™ is a late highlight as the band coax the rhythm into life before hitting hard with a lovely, deep groove. â€˜Collidingâ€™ is the spacey Krautrock closer, a beautiful, nuanced semi-instrumental song which exits with dreamy, abstract vocoder sounds and ambient synths.
1. Alpha Omega
6. Real Life
*Bonus Cd Only Track