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Somewhere Else
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  • Noah Anthony's third full-length as Profligate seems to have more in common with the project's industrial/minimal wave beginnings than later excursions into hard, noisy techno such as 2015's Extremities EP. However, it's far from a retread, as it contains his most advanced songwriting and arrangements to date. The songs are all built on inventive, unconventional rhythms that skitter and swirl, and the production is clean and hi-tech, yet there are plenty of unexpected bursts of harsh, screeching noise and tape manipulation. Anthony's soft murmurings are joined by additional vocalists Chrissy James and poet Elaine Kahn (who provides a dramatic, poetic coda to "Lose a Little"), and the lyrics generally seem to be abstract vignettes reflecting on desire and isolation. The extended darkwave waltz "Somewhere Else" sets the tone, and "A Circle Of" follows, commencing with an intro of wayward drifting and whispering before unsteady electronic snare drums begin pummeling away. "Enlist" begins with garbled tape noise before turning into a complex, rapidly pulsating art pop tune with impressive bass guitar work, resembling a noisier, weirder take on David Sylvian's group Japan. "Black Plate," another piece of sophisticated darkwave, is easily the album's poppiest moment, with a longing hook ("desire, desire") and keyboards that vibrantly dance and shimmer. Some feedback crackles and stings, but instead of sounding distracting or out of place, it enhances the melodies. "Needle in Your Lip" is perhaps the most minimal song here, with knocking drums and an insistent repetition of the song's title. On the CD edition of the album, it's followed by two minutes of silence and an unlisted near-instrumental, consisting of shimmering bass guitar, sideways beats, and a barely noticeable layer of vocals. Meticulously crafted and far from predictable, Somewhere Else is easily Profligate's best work yet. ~ Paul Simpson
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