U.K. REVIEWS
RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Former Depeche Mode man Alan Wilder gets in touch with his sinister side. Synth pop it ain’t. Take one ex-pop star. Put him together with a handful of well-chosen guest vocalists...the result: a cleverly crafted, dark and brooding album...The music has the aural density of a Meat Beat Manifesto or indeed a Nitzer Ebb. The songs about perverts, victims and stalkers shape themselves to fit Wilder’s murky layers and expressionistic tones. Never better so than when a disembodied chorus of You’re all I Need To Get By crashes in at the end of Control Freak . Remember to leave a light on.

Mojo, December '97
RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Now to a review of the years albums and my ten that should grace the serious muso’s collection. From all musical genre, at the head of the the table should be seated last months much talked about Recoil, ‘Unsound Methods’, the most notably weird album of ‘97. Few come along that have such a deep seated effect on your life.

Hype, December '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

The concept project of former Depeche Mode man Alan Wilder, removes itself from the music industry norms and blinkers, supplying a confrontational and emotive symphony. Immediately astounding in its ambitiousness, Alan uses the whole sonic vocabulary of jazz, trance, gospel, classical, ambient, thrash, poetry and natural sound effects; conducting these into a theatrical / cinematic narrative. This release stands out as an accomplished musical experience with the depth of Radiohead and drama of David Lynch - this album echoes far past its conclusion.

Massive, December '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Ex-Depeche Mode man Alan Wider must have a sinister streak a mile wide. Assisted by guest vocalists, his Recoil project plums the unpleasant psychological depths that Depeche only toyed with, and the claustrophobic darkness of the music is drenched in a similar sinister pessimism to the film ‘Seven’. Strangely enthralling and genuinely disturbing; if you’re listening to ‘Unsound Methods’ a lot you, should probably see a psychiatrist.

Mixmag, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Depeche Mode fans looking to enter a darker hole should check out former Mode man Alan Wilder’s new outfit, Recoil. This album is described as “a journey through the edge of unease” and I certainly wouldn’t argue with that - with a host of unheard guest singers, the album is as uncompromising as it is uncommercial.

Times Group newspapers, October '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Opening song Incubus is ambience mailed first class from the asylum. Total savagery achieved with the axe-weilding spoken word ranting of former Nitzer Ebb singer Douglas McCarthy. Another purveyor of the vocal-speak, Maggie Estep, joins the manifest for Luscious Apparatus; a strangely soothing but horribly unnerving offering which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Haunting and hypnotic groove fuse desolate melody throughout and it all works maliciously well and begs a classy horror flick to hang it on. Play, but not alone and definitely not with the sleeping pills laying around.

Polar, October '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Wilder is the key player throughout, creating dense, atmospheric soundscapes rich in dub and hip hop overtones. Whether Depeche Mode fans will enjoy Wilder’s new direction is debatable but ‘Unsound Methods’ is compulsive listening.

Rugby Observer, October '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Swirling rhythms and whispered vocals collide with stubbornly Mode-ish mechanics, kicking up clouds of the same dark dust that falls on NIN. But where Trent Reznor relishes hammering his message in with histrionic force, Wilder accompanies his out into the world with a firm supporting arm of electronic orchestration holding them up as apprentice soundtracks. His touch is lighter and characteristically more subtle. In other words you could shag to this or just let it massage your loneliness - either way you’ll want to shake Alan’s nimble fingers when you’ve finished. Just make sure you don’t leave a mess on his organ (matron / vicar / officer etc.)

S.A.M., November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Recoil, on this occasion, captures the experience you may only find from within a narcotic haze. A shining cast makes up this very intimate of musical outings. One for not-so quiet reflection in the company of one’s darker side.

Hype, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Another mean ‘n’ moody music maker is Alan Wilder whose Recoil album ‘Unsound Methods’ is a mix of dub delvings and electronic beats. It’s in a league of its own - floating between bizarre tunes, distorted vocals and string arrangements. But could send you slightly deranged if listened to alone in the dark. ‘Unsound Methods’ is the perfect antidote for anyone out there feeling just a little too happy with life.

Cumock Chronicle, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Recoil is notably more cerebral [than DM]; it is a dark visitor and a persistent character. Wilder’s album is music for a film which hasn’t yet been made; it is brooding, provocative, tough and ambient. It flows and jostles, haunts and disarms. It has more atmospherics than a chemical spillage in the Channel Tunnel and is just as dramatic.

Sheffield Star, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

A stunning album that is sexy, exciting and chilled....perfect music to make love to. I was impressed by the single, ‘Drifting’ but the whole of this album is amazing... This album left me feeling overwhelmed and impressed. Tune in and drop out.

Voice, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

The result, surprisingly is most impressive. All in all, ‘Unsound Methods’ is an incredibly disturbing album. Dark and moody, it conjures up images of deserted places you wished you’d never seen; piss-stained subways, lonely backyards at three in the morning, face to face with your murderer. It’s all there. They’re [the songs] short constructs in themselves, evil and bitter, the soundtrack from hell.
'Unsound' Methods is a great piece of art and sick at the same time. It’s the ultimate breakdown of insanity into low-fi, trip-hop beats, a traumatic experience at it’s finest.

The Beaver, November '97

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

“This follows on from the amazing ‘Luscious Apparatus’ and as hinted at, this is an album of extreme darkness yet class. It flows like a kind of soundtrack , ranging from fast, electronic stuff, to low heavy Garbage (that’s the group, not the trash!).
Using inspired choices as guest vocalists shows intelligence of the hightest order and frankly, only Mr Barry Adamson can touch this if we’re pigeon-holing. It proves you can live with the unconventional AND keep yer friends and family....”

I.B.M. Jan '98

RECOIL Unsound Methods (Mute)

Since his somewhat acrimonious split with Depeche Mode in '95, Alan Wilder has been quietly working away creating the latest installment in his previously occasional Recoil project. Now he can devote himself full time, it has allowed him to spread out and make an adventurous piece of work. As before, he works with a variety of guest vocalists who help to mirror the mood or atmosphere of a particular song. From the dark anguish of the 'Apocalypse Now' influenced 'Incubus', to the Lydia Lunch-esque rant on 'Luscious Apparatus' from Maggie Estep, each song is a fully self-contained piece of work. It's interesting to make comparisons between this and Wilder's erstwhile partners recent album 'Ultra'. While Dave Gahan and the boys continue to plough in familiar territory, Wilder and Recoil show a brave and surprisingly commercial experimentalism that proves Martin Gore wasn't the only resident songwriting genius in the Mode...

Spoil
, February '98

DRIFTING
RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

From the great album, ‘Unsound Methods’, Recoil’s is a sultry trip hop schlock with Siobhan Lynch providing the de rigeur vocals, vaguely reminiscent of The The’s ‘Infected’ material. Decadent, moist, warm and not a little twisted.

NME, October '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

Since he left Depeche Mode in 1995, Wilder has devoted all his time to Recoil. The result is a truly spectacular musical collection. The first single is ‘Drifting’ featuring singer Siobhan Lynch combines a haunting , hypnotic groove with a desolate and vulnerable voice.

Scottish Mirror, October '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

With sexy vocals from Siobhan Lynch, this track is an amazing blend of trip hop and Big Band percussion....and is a signal for the eerie album that is set to follow on October 27th.

Voice, November '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

‘Drifting’ is a marked detour from the dramatic electro-grunge-pop that he [Alan Wilder] helped fashion with Depeche Mode...the result is dark and alluring, the musical equivalent of a Cadbury’s Bourneville bar...

District Post, October '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

Depeche Mode never sounded like this...this is the dark, affecting single lifted from ‘Unsound Methods’. An anthem for wasted youth.

The Crack, November '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

If you're searching for something approximating a conventional song, don’t waste your time putting this one on the listening post...However, if it’s something located quite a long way out of the ordinary, then this could be just the thing. Eccentric enough to make Ozzy Osbourne look like Chris De Burgh.

North West Evening Mail, October '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

Recoil is the brain-child of ex-Depeche Mode man Alan Wilder. Hold on, don’t stop reading, this is unlike the cheery ones recent releases - it’s good. Utilizing dub, ambient and deep pulsing electronic beats, you get the feel of a dark machine mind that is living in your sound system. This is haunting and hypnotic and is a treat for the ears. The vocals are terrific by new-comer Siobhan Lynch. The ‘Poison Dub’ is more spacious but no less enjoyable and track 3, ‘Control Freak’ is weird but I liked it - so there.

S.A.V., January '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

Lie back and slide into the sleazy atmosphere of this song. Slow and insidious, a journey through The Wasteland that is eerie enough to bring you out in a cold sweat: nice and slinky and strangely compulsive.

Hullfire, November '97

RECOIL ‘Drifting’ (Mute)

Another great release from Mute. Slightly trip-hop with plenty of scratching and big beats, complete with dreamy vocals over the top. A damn fine song by all accounts. Check it out.

Blind Youth
, January '98

RECOIL 'Luscious Apparatus' (Promo CD)

So I'm driving back along the A1M after interviewing F**k and just as I reach the unlit section, someone [John Peel] plays this on the radio and I'm transfixed...mesmorised...listening to the spoken words by Maggie Estep and urging the couple in the song to get it together. They do!! But you have to somehow pay for the most amazing sex poss. and of course it all ends in tears!! Subversive and amazing, Depeche Mode's Alan Wilder has never, ever sounded so sick...!!

I.B.M.
, January '98

STALKER
RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Dark as in Matt Johnson midnight dark, Recoil, brainchild of former Depeche Mode man Alan Wilder, take us on a journey throught the depths of mans twisted mind. Deep as in the Atlantic, Recoil drown you in beats and vocals and vibes fitting of a day in hell. Blaspheme and be merry.

Circa Mag,
March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Former Depeche Moder, Alan Wilder, has come forth in his Recoil guise to deliver on to us three spooky cuts from his forthcoming 'Unsound Methods' L.P. Imaginary soundtrack is pretty much the order of the day here with a selection of gothic narratives and shadowy samples all given the full cinematic synth and strings treatment. The opener, 'Stalker' is the sort of track you might expect to find accompanying someone doing something strange in a David Lynch film. And 'Missing Piece - Night Dissolves', is a mildly intriguing kind of Alanis Morrisette meets Tricky meets Brian Eno long after he went bald affair. But it is the concluding 'Red River Cargo' that easily stands out as the singles' most rewarding offering with it's juicy slice of soul diva gospel action on a William Orbit type tip. Overall mean, moody and actually quite good.

Blank Magazine
, Belfast March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Anyone who hasn't come across 'Unsound Methods' should rush out and get a copy right now because it was one of the best albums of last year and goes to show how the boundaries of pop music can be pushed beyond the accepted candyfloss drivel that we have come to accept as the standard these days. 'Stalker' starts off as a very dark and very moody fim track-ish piece with half discernible Brando-esque muttering.
We are in a world of dark obsessions and strange psychotic indulgences with a sense of things about to go seriously out of control. Imagine being locked up in a sensory deprivation tank for a week while trying to get over a messy break-up with your girlfriend - bad enough as it is but in a sensory depravation tank? Dark secrets, strange longings, unfulfilled desires, head screams and stifled murderous thoughts - David Lynch meets John Woo somewhere in 'The Heart Of Darkness.
'Missing Piece' is more accessible but the sense of haunting, brooding menace is still there. More pop and dance orientated than 'Stalker' but only if you can imagine dancing with a Rambo knife clutched between your teeth. Siobhan Lynch's vocals are the sound of angels on heat. One day Alan Wilder will be probably doing soundtracks to big, dumb Hollywood movies which is a shame because pop music can certainly do with some more of his dark, visionary, hallucinatory and somberly morbid obsessions. Failing that, there are always the Spice Girls.

Pan Magazine
, February '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Recoil present music as dark as it comes - darker than a bar of Cadbury's Bourneville chocolate, in fact, and almost as tasty. 'Stalker' is very much in the film soundtrack style so beloved of David Holmes, very cinematic, unnerving, shadowy - you know the score.

Driffield Post
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Former Depeche Mode muso, Alan Wilder has come up trumps with a remixed version of 'Stalker' from one of last year's outstanding albums 'Unsound Methods'. Weighing in at over seven and a half minutes long, this is no radio friendly light-weight. Pity, because it has all the right ingredients for a chart success - but just a little too long. C'est la vie.

Pontypridd Observer
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Featuring the vocals of Nitzer Ebb's Douglas McCarthy, 'Stalker' is darker than a total eclipse and more menacing than a boy dressed in a red and black striped jumper called Dennis.. It's also quite good.

Rugby Observer,
February '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Recoil. Sinister name. 'Stalker'. Menacing title. The 'Punished Mix'. Crikey missus, it's too frightening for me. Actually, it is. Alan Wilder, who served his scariness apprenticeship with Depeche Mode, has created 7 minutes of highly effective creeping beats, ominous synthesizer and shivering vocals. He turned 'I Just Can't get Enough' into 'Black Celebration'. Be afraid....

The Badger
, Sussex University, February '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

A beat-heavy ride into the heart of the big, bad city. 'Stalker' uses every trick in the book: whispered vocals, telephone sound effects, a string section, changes of tempo and a truly evil sounding bloke muttering low in the mix. It sound like a film - a scary, intense one about love and death. The single boasts three tracks, each around 8 minutes long and each a gripping collision of movie theme, trip-hop and paranoid Tricky-style soundscapes. Absolute class.

Shefield Network
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

What starts off for the first 30 seconds as a promising dance track becomes the most eerie song you may ever have heard. It is not that you don't like 'Stalker', you just find it unnerving. In fact it may be even verging on the distasteful. Not one to listen to on your own, late at night, thinking maybe you should have fixed that lock on your back door after all.

Birmingham Evening Post
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Presented like a soundtrack to a two-act short film, 'Stalker' bleeds it's fear into 'Missing Piece' with a malevolence you can feel pierce your skin. Sinister samples of conversations provide a backdrop to fractured guitars and strings. The drum effects have been ripped apart then stapled back together by Trent Reznor's soul. Disturbing. Incredible. David Lynch would look on and grin from ear to ear...

Portsmouth University
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

Second single from the former Depeche Mode member Alan Wilder is a stark, shadowy piece of progressive rock with vocals and narration by Douglas McCarthy and Maggie Estep. Not to be heard without of the aid of light above about 40 watts!

Essex Post
, March '98

RECOIL 'Stalker' (Mute)

The single of the month (or any month come to that!) is the brainchild of Alan Wilder, formerly of Depeche Mode...This is an awesome brute of a track lasting nearly eight minutes. The aural equivalent to watching a darkly disturbing movie of obsession, this will creep into your brain and hide in all the dark corners and drill holes in your psyche. Featuring addition vocals from New York spoken-word artist Maggie Estep and the tones of Douglas McCarthy, this is neither radio friendly nor commercial, it is however chillingly brilliant. You have been warned! Till next time.....

Adnews
, March '98
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