Sky Larkin - Motto Motto… Instructive

LPs round-up: Sky Larkin, Black Onassis, Dreadzone

Published on September 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Here are our reviews, should you care for them, of the new albums by Sky Larkin, Black Onassis and Dreadzone…

Sky Larkin – Motto

This Leeds bunch’s third album weaves in and out around shady lanes of airily dissonant jangles and crunchy effects riding a crashing, cacophonous rhythm section, all of which comes together quite Sonic Youth-ily, wrenching familiar forms into agreeable new shapes.

At its best – the scratchy and explosive title track, the tumultuous “Treasury”, the MBV-tinged wonky splendour of “Carve It Out” – Motto manages to induce a rush of energy and an otherworldly sense of elsewhere all at once, a rare combination.

“Bravo Dodo” is excellent stuff too, its gleaming strokes of guitar contrasting so wonderfully with the monotone rumble of the bass. Not all of Motto hits such peaks, but more than enough of it does.

Motto will be released on September 16th by Wichita Recordings Ltd.

BUY: Motto on iTunes and on Amazon.

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

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Black Onassis – Desensitized

Black Onassis is the ‘brainchild’ of former Kasabian member Chris Karloff, who keeps hold of the blaring, attitudinal electronics but deploys them more Chemical Brothers-ishly. He does it well.

The beats are big, rhythm sections clucking and pulsing in their midst, splashes of colour applied by chiming, wibbly synth work and the odd guest vocal.

“Iso” sounds like it’s going to break out into “Everybody dance now!” at any moment but swirls up into something pleasingly disorienting, while “Brain” could be a big beat remix of something from The Cooper Temple Clause’s second album, albeit this largely owes itself to the presence of Ben Gautrey’s voice.

Particularly tremendous is the mean-ass groove of “XXL”, but special mention also to “Adhd” for sounding a bit like a vacuum cleaner at a drum and bass rave whinnying like a horse. Can’t knock that.

Desensitized will be released on September 23rd.

BUY: Desensitized on iTunes and on Amazon.

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

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Dreadzone – Escapades

Compared to Dreadzone’s classic 1995 album Second Light – and, for better or worse, anything they do will be compared to that – Escapades feels sadly watered down.

Opener “Next Generation” is strikingly…well, poppy, but in a discomforting way. Only mere hints of the old Dreadzone remain – those electronic breakdowns, a spoken word sample and a flight of plastic strings – otherwise it all feels designed to attach itself anonymously onto the undersides of British TV youth dramas.

None of the smooth-voiced guest singers, or indeed their lyrics, inspire; they’re hackneyed and sloganeering to the point of being virtually meaningless, while the echo chamber dub that made Second Light so great gets the odd run out but is bogged down by the prevailing absence of bold colours and textures. It sounds dated, even.

The twiddly Eastern string sample of “Fire in the Dark” seems to herald something worth clinging to, so it’s doubly a shame that it immediately becomes mired in autopilot dancehall ranting. Ultimately, Escapades turns out to be much of a muchness.

Escapades is out now on Dubwiser Records.

BUY: Escapades on iTunes and on Amazon.

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

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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.