The Amplifetes - Where is the Light

Where is the Light... It's behind you!

LPs Roundup: The Amplifetes, PVT, Amplifier

Published on April 28th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Listen and download

The Amplifetes – Where is the Light

‘Electro pop’ is a phrase that Rocksucker had previously balked at, but it you are to apply the term liberally then there have been some fine examples of it so far this year: Big Black Delta, Phoenix and Neon Neon, all of whom succeed by virtue of being really rather good at the ‘pop’ part. Add Swedish bunch The Amplifetes to that list, because their second album similarly keeps up both ends of the bargain.

The title track sounds like a melting pot of Daft Punk, Junior Senior and Hot Chip, and from thereon in it’s wall-to-wall treats. For all its sleekness, “You Want It” is deceptively daft, countering its steady club beats and simple melodies with some very nifty displays of lateral thinking; witness – well, listen to – the rasping out-of-tune synth solo for an example of such.

“My Heart is Leaving Town” leads a big, nasty, rubbery Primal-Scream-circa-XTRMNTR bass line into a beguiling chorus reminiscent of Simian (pre-Mobile Disco, although they’re good too), all of which is followed by the ace, hiccupping groove of “You_Me_Evolution” and the brilliantly tangential “Tracey Clarke”. “Tracey Clarke” is particularly outstanding: there’s sophisticated psych-pop songwriting at the heart of its buzzing electronics and a synaesthetic rhythm section to boot. That’s the good kind of box-ticking, in Rocksucker’s book.

Elsewhere, “Never Going Back” seems to pass by relatively innocuously until it suddenly lets fly with an elating arrangement of plastic strings, while the honking bass and dotty, twittering beat of “Start_Stop” find The Amplifetes sounding so commanding that it is indeed bookended by utterances of “start” and “stop”.

Bewitching closer “This Can’t Be It” is just the icing on the buns. What Where is the Light lacks in punctuation, it more than makes up for with being ace. It might be good for them to try casting off their electro-y shackles on the next album, but this is pretty fine stuff as it is.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Where is the Light? is out now on – you can buy it on Amazon. For more information, please visit The Amplifetes’ official website.

PVT – Homosapien

We didn’t realise it straight away, but this third album from the London/Sydney group formerly/sort-of-still named Pivot is one of the best and most addled sounding we’ve heard this year. The opening one-two hit of the Underworld-circa-Beaucoup Fish-ishly monged “Shiver” and the inwards-rushing psychedelic clubbiness of “Evolution”…well, if they were an up-and-coming footballer then it would be said that they were “really making people sit up and take notice”. (Sorry, we just watched Match of the Day. And the Football League Show with Maneesh.)

“Electric” sets the atmosphere to ‘foreboding’ with a hushed vocal and a buzzing, rasping synth bass, proceeding to classen up the joint to great effect with some wonderfully swooping backing vocals in the chorus. There’s an irresistibly clacky rhythm section to “Cold Romance”, a brilliantly deployed array of gurgly vocal samples in the title track, even a cowbell helping to drive “Casual Success”; whether abrasive or luxuriant, though, PVT’s lysergic ingenuity shines through.

Homosapien manages to sound totally tripped-out even when it’s maintaining a steady, insistent rhythm, and this is but one indicator of PVT’s knack for controlling all that you see as well as hear. Unexpectedly twinkly instrumental closer “Ziggurat” is a gloriously self-assured play, so brilliantly executed as to render its own incongruity irrelevant.

Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quaila quail

Homosapien is out now on Felte – you can buy it on iTunes and on Amazon. For more information, please visit the official PVT website.

Amplifier – Echo Street

Following their epic 2011 album The Octopus was never going to be easy, but Manchester proggies Amplifier have delivered another sprawling odyssey to be swept away by. “Matmos” fades in burning softly yet intensely, if that’s possible, and from then on those glowing embers light the way along a song cycle tinged with wonderment, foreboding intensity and enraptured harmonies. If Jeff Buckley came from the north of England, basically.

“The Wheel” flaunts big, clattering Mars Volta drums and mean-ass guitar lines, “Where the River Goes” blissed-out ecstasy blues that explodes into triumphant sludge rock, and the twelve-minute “Extravehicular” takes in squalls of fast-picked guitar and proceeds to heap layer upon layer of sound, justifying its running time by climaxing quite magnificently. (You know what we mean. Stop giggling at the back.)

Sadly missed psych-folkies Candidate are brought to mind on the magnificent “Between Today and Yesterday”, while a vague resemblance to the also sadly missed Mansun rears its head along with the “la la la” section of the skyscraping title track. As you might glean from the song titles, there’s not an awful lot to treasure lyrically, and Amplifier’s palette doesn’t have the most colours on it. The songwriting’s pretty bang-up, though, so theirs is a wagon we recommend hitching a ride from.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Echo Street is out now on Kscope – you can buy it on iTunes and on Amazon. For more information, please visit the official Amplifier website.

Artists: , ,

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.