Friday, 15 January 2010

Rating: 4/5

Eternity, a retrospective mini-album of material from the "proto-genesis of the band" (in the words of frontman Sel Belamir) was released as a ten-year anniversary present for the fans, giving them some new material (however old) while they wait for next year's Octopus double album. This is one of those records that 'grows on you' in the classic sense; at a first listen a couple of the tracks from this will grab you, but it's not until the fifth or the sixth that the noises on the stereo finally coalesce into something coherent. By that point, needless to say, you are hooked.

Starting the show is 'Amplified 99', a fast- paced rocker that lays the foundations for their first-album single 'The Consultancy'. Even at this early stage, in the middle eight the trio show their desire not to be overtaken by their grunge roots, and a hint of their later, more soundscape-y offerings is suggested. Other tracks like 'Area 51' and 'My Corrosion' (which bears a slight resemblance to 'In My Body' from the CR-04 disc of the Smashing Pumpkins' last album, Machina II) sound considerably more developed, and are probably from the cutting floor of their debut, Amplifier.

The last two tracks are heavily indebted to last-album Soundgarden, and in particular, 'Number One Son' is heavily in thrall to 'Boot Camp', the closer of Down on the Upside. A very Dave Gilmour-style guitar solo completes the song, but forgetting its heritage it's worth saying that the solo is pretty sensational in its own right.

Possibly the most interesting track is 'The Ways of Amplifier', which samples the drum loop from 'Inertia Creeps' by Massive Attack (from the seminal Mezzanine), and will give fans a whole new perspective on the influences and song writing technique of the band. It is more than just a rip-off or cover version; from the basic hook a new song is built, remarkably something even darker, and the waves of distortion serve to give it a similar claustrophobic, sinister air to the original, but arrived at by a different route. All in all, an interesting and highly listenable collection, and certainly a fan must.

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