Release date: 24 February 2012
Clean Cuts is a mechanical, proto-industrial electronic album released by New York trio House of Blondes, fronted by John Blonde. They consider it their second debut release, with their 2007 self-titled album being a separate project under the same moniker. Clean Cuts is a mechanical, dissociative affair, as if early-80s New Order met with Cluster to score George Lucas’s THX1138. Oscillating percussion machines provide a dislocating backbeat against vintage synthesizers (e.g. Roland, Juno, and Sequential Pro One). The analogue electronic sound and progressive, cyclical song structures strongly remind me of krautrock. John Blonde has a deep, rich, rounded quality to his voice (when it isn’t chopped to all hell), similar to Brian Eno. Tracks range from New Wave-inspired ballads to ambient clicks and cuts. The digitized, slightly claustrophobic milieu is reminiscent of the distinctly synthetic computer music produced at the dawn of the digital age. Clean Cuts is successful in invoking a subtle nostalgia that harkens back to when the world opened up by synths, computers, and electronics was fresh and exciting.
See tracks for Caffeine. A couple work for Staring at the Sun. Out on Glowmatic and Other Music.
All clean! Cuts are in bold, Caffeine tracks have asterisks, and Staring tracks have carats (^).
*1. Shadows – (5:37)
*2. Do It Yourself (Landscape) – (4:40)
3. I’ll Wait All Night – (4:26)
^4. Anhedonia – (4:01)
*5. Come Running – (3:09)
*6. Slow Motion Tourist – (2:55)
7. Time to Swim – (4:43)
^8. Supermoon – (4:00)
9. Lower – (5:04)
RIYL: Matthew Dear, Cluster, New Order, Can, Kraftwerk, Gas