Not for Every DM Fan
Erik R. Olson | Dublin, CA, United States | 12/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With Unsound Methods, Alan Wilder (the man who is Recoil) finally had the chance to make an album of his own, free from all other commitments (namely Depeche Mode). Listening to these nine tracks, it's obvious why Wilder had to leave the band; none of this would have surfaced on a Depeche Mode album.
Wilder starts off his first full Recoil LP with "Incubus," making good use of Douglas McCarthy's voice just as he did on the previous EP, Bloodline. The ambient loop which opens the song and pulses to the finish brings to mind a tropical rain forest in the dead of night (the credits list F. Coppola; could it be a sample from Apocalypse Now?) Between that, the lyrics, and McCarthy's voice, you have quite a scary opening to a scary album.
Siobhan Lynch provides the vocals for the following track, a trip-hop affair entitled "Drifting." This is one sexy yet sinister song, perhaps the best achievement of the album. The combination of samples, slow nocturnal beats, and a sultry female snarl bring to mind Massive Attack and Portishead -- good bands to follow. Lynch reprises her role as seductress with a mike on "Missing Piece," with equally good results. "Last Breath" takes the trip-hop formula and slows it down even further, with some backing strings and nice tempo changes.
"Red River Cargo" works fairly well too, kind of like a sequel to Bloodline's "Electro Blues for Bukka White." If anyone wants to know where Moby got the idea to merge gospel with electronica, look no further. "Shunt" is the closer for Unsound Methods, eventually accelerating into a hardcore techno beat. Does it suggest suicide? Hard to tell.
Wilder's only noteworthy missteps on Unsound Methods are the two tracks featuring Maggie Estep ("Luscious Apparatus" and "Control Freak"). Estep's voice and lyrics are the kind that belong only in bad porn, but maybe that is what Wilder was going for here. She mars what is otherwise a very enjoyable album that announces Alan Wilder as an individual talent to be taken seriously.
Most people will find this album by starting as Depeche Mode fans, and exploring what the band members have done as solo acts. Let me make this completely clear: Recoil is quite a different affair from DM. There are no catchy hooks or reassuring lyrics. But if you are the kind of DM fan who has also embraced many 90's trip-hop, ambient, and industrial artists, and would rather listen to something more sonically challenging than what you will hear on the radio, then this is the CD for you."
Despite some terrible vocals a good album
filterite | Dublin, Ireland | 12/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first album from Alan's split with Depeche Mode and it's a pretty good album, despite the odd blunder here and there with the vocals which can be slightly irritating at times, the music here is quite something. Much darker than anything that he had done with Depeche Mode, the resulting sound is something like electro jazz for the late dark nights mixed with trip-hop. Indeed film buffs will find that Apocalypse Now has had a few lines stolen in the first track. It may take a few listens to get into since you may find the spoken-word vocals a little too irritating on first listen but if you can get by that and the whole layered nature of the album - the whole album is thick with samples and sounds - it's an album that needs time whether you'll grant it that or not is up to you. Definitely a more interesting listen to though than any of the other Depeche Mode side-projects which just seem like out-takes ( alright Fletch may be onto something with Client but he sensibly doesn't play anything! )"