Gazelle Twin’s second full album “Unflesh” is one of the most claustrophobic and paranoia inducing 40 minutes of music I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy in recent memory.
A tightly woven album which opens with the title track has tightly compacted drum loops and a jarring metallic backing vocal and synth set that gently disquiet you behind the onward percussive march. The vocals repeat quickly “he’s coming at me” in a robot tone and the more the rest of the track pulsates around Elizabeth’s vocals it becomes horror like. It’s a fascinating start that continues to warp with weird twisted lyrical murmurs in “Guts”. The anti pop track with an old 80’s pop dance beat has demonic Knife-like vocal distortion. in both low and high tones and frequently breaks off into catchy but offbeat synth embellishments. “Exorcise” is one of my favourites as a manic bassline starts trickling out the speakers. The vocals start quiet and get increasing laboured as the drums start tripping over themselves and like a horror movie as a door opens and you get the pitch shift on the strings – this track does it constantly between verses.
“Good Death” is like floating between dimensions. A solitary kick drum marks out your radar and the synth pads flicker from tone to tone whilst Elizabeth’s voice is entirely in a whispery high octave to sooth you through the chilling surroundings – like a deceptive angel. “Anti Body” is another favourite though that spearheaded an EP beforehand and is about as commercial as this album goes – so not very then! Vocals are turned to spoken word over a drum track that feels like it’s channelling a fire alarm and it really pushes the track forward. It also seems to change volume throughout and gets your pulse racing over the ambience around it all. “Child” is a short track that lets the voice and the effects around the voice really take shape. It’s an empty space in a way and almost cleanses the mind from the pure terror of the previous tracks. “Premonition” stays in the angelic space with a simple keyboard tune and letting Elizabeth’s beautiful voice shine through in its eerie backing vocals. It’s another favourite that showcases the quiet side of Gazelle Twin.
“A1 Receptor” is a noise effect that leads into the single “Belly of the Beast” which has some great percussive twists as the drum loop keeps changing frequencies and pitches. It makes the already percussive and alive track feel like it’s fluid and in motion. The lyrics are particularly easy to listen and the closing section of the track is an anti-head banging delight – that bass beat! “Human Touch” has a more minimalist feel to it than other tracks with its mid tempo beats and stylings whilst “I Feel Blood” has a synth warble that makes the main melody which is so low in tone that it fills up a lot of the audio space. Other instruments come into this cathartic track which is another favourite but that warble really takes the lead as Elizabeth practically squeals the title in long moans. “Still Life” then closes this quirky album with a brooding bass and percussion track where the drum track appears to be made out of roars and the synths are a cross between voice and keyboard! It’s like a magic show has gone off course and is slowly crashing into the darkness.
That description is a good way to describe the album as a whole. Gazelle Twin has created a genuinely unique sound. It’s uncomfortable in places, genuinely frightening in others but always pure genius and strangely compelling. Like a scab – you’ve just got to pick it! One of my surprises for 2014 – I’m a new fan!