THE OUTER LIMITS March 1998


 

What's happening to Recoil outside Europe

This month, a look at media comment and reviews for Unsound Methods from a little further afield than Europe. We apologise if we sound vague in some cases but because of the varying release dates in each country, we are still awaiting press from some territories and only have a limited selection from others.

 

 

U.S.A

The whole process of marketing and promotion in the U.S. differs considerably from Europe and, as a result, the album was released there in November 1997 while the single 'Drifting' was not released until April 14th 1998.
Due, perhaps in part, to the unique role of radio (which can sometimes lead to a record 'hovering' on the airwaves and literally taking 6 months to break), the press is only now beginning to trickle in but has , for the most part, proved positive even if some reviewers seem to be at a loss in describing Recoil!


RECOIL - Unsound Methods (Reprise)

Alan Wilder, ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist, has distanced himself from his former outfit with the dark tones of his side-project Recoil's third release, Unsound Methods. Not since The The's Infected or David Lynch's Blue Velvet, has an artist crafted such an intense, brooding collection of modern morality tales masquerading as pop music, using film imagery and atmospherics. Those expecting the melodic harmonies and tunes of the Mode, will be alienated by the lurching dramatics and gothic aspirations of Recoil's sound.

Gathering a diverse collective of singers / artists - ex-Nitzer Ebb vocalist Douglas McCarthy, New York spoken-word artist Maggie Estep, Southern gospel singer Hildia Cambell and first-time English vocalist Siobhan Lynch - Wilder surrounds them with mesmerising, dub-infected soundscapes of beauty and terror. You'd better leave the lights on for this one.

Opener 'Incubus' sets the mood with McCarthy method-acting 'the grim reaper' walking amongst an unsuspecting populace. His black-pitch vocals drip Hitchcockian menace, while snippets from Apocalypse Now add to the mood. 'I'm alive' he spews to a cancerous, pounding heart of darkness. Even Freddy Krueger would pause before entering Recoil's nightmare.

Lynch's vulnerable singing lifts 'Drifting' to a safer realm. Marimbas, timpani drums and lush trip-pop rhythms cocoon the listener from the damage done by 'Incubus'. But it's a short-lived rest.

The icy chill of 'Luscious Apparatus' combines the sci-fi erotica of J.G. Ballard's Crash with the bohemian street-seat of poetess Estep. Like Patti Smith fronting Orbital, horrific lyrics slip the key into this Pandoras Box, daring the listener to peek inside it's unflinching account of rape. Only the bravest need apply.

'Stalker' borrows from the Peter Murphy / Love and Rockets catalogue with lovely guitar cascading over industrial hooks adding much-needed warmth. McCarthy's reading of the title character is chilling, like Ministry without the buzzsaw theatrics. It's a shadowy narcotic.

The Southern Gothic epic 'Red River Cargo' takes a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi only to find harrowing evil at every mooring. Voodoo chants, redneck rants and bayou thugery battle the sweeping orchestrations and gospel purity of Cambell's wondrous soprano on this techno spiritual. Recent bands like Spiritualized and Primal Scream have also tackled musical tableau on Southern race relations but Recoil's wide-screen treatment packs the biggest wallop.

Estep returns for more word-play on 'Control Freak', an electro-stomp about obsession gone awry. 'Missing Piece' drips in melancholia as Lynch's vocals flirt with Tori Amos dreaminess in the beautiful chorus. Loneliness never sounded so inviting.

'Last Breath's sensual blend of tape loops, big strings and Cambell's innate vocals, spill-over with symphonic grandeur, with it's tripnotic groove building to a thunderous climax.

'Shunt' closes Unsound Methods with helicopter blades mixing with railway sounds combining for a trance-inducing mechanical mantra that explores psychedelia and modern classical music's shared sense of adventure in sonics. Slap on those headphones now.

Recoil positions Wilder in a flattering new light. Proving he's more than just 'keyboard-for-hire' with Depeche Mode, his experimental side will probably not rule the charts but will certainly propel his name into a new pantheon of artistry. His methods are anything but unsound."

The News
, November '97

RECOIL - Unsound Methods (Reprise)

"What used to be a side project for ex-Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder, became his main gig when he left the band. Recoil is a deluge of Wilder's dreamy soundscapes presented with various guest vocalists, including Maggie Estep. 'Last Breath' could be culled from DM and 'Luscious Apparatus' tells the eerie tale of two mayonnaise factory workers whose poetic sex turns violent. Good stuff."

Rolling Stone Online, November '97


RECOIL - Unsound Methods (Reprise)

"Pretty cool stuff. Recoil is Alan Wilder's new project. Alan was formerly a member of Depeche Mode, a band that never really pushed my power buttons. Based upon this CD, I'd say that Mr. Wilder made the right choice to leave his former band. His solo stuff is much better. The disc features nine trippy tunes with a heavy emphasis on production. This may not appeal to all Depeche Mode fans, because it is clearly directed at a very different group of listeners...(4 out of 5)"

Baby sue, December '97


RECOIL - Unsound Methods (Reprise)

"Many Depeche Mode fans remember Alan Wilder as the man behind the band's dynamic sound. No longer with the group, Wilder has put all of this creative energy into his latest Recoil project. This album has a definite dark feel to it. The song 'Luscious Apparatus is captivatingly disturbing, as vocalist Maggie Estep tells a tale of fantasy gone sour. The rest of the songs are very cinematic, especially 'Incubus', influenced by the film classic Apocalypse Now. The most remarkable thing is that each track has an independent sound and theme, a rarity scarcely found within most bands. This album is a definite pick-me-up for any languished Depeche Mode fan. (4 1/2 out of 5)"

Hook, Line and Sinker, January '98


(go to Media - Reviews for more reviews from around the world)




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