Wednesday 5 June 2013


My ongoing project to highlight the increasing influence of electronic music on the Glasgow music scene means that it is impossible for me to ignore Analog Angel surely the city's most prolific electronic band of the last few years. The band actually started life as Dr Strangelove in the late 1980's before a lengthy sabbatical was brought to a conclusion when a keen You Tube viewer found and put up the video for all to see. Following a great response to the video the band reformed as Analog Angel and have since put out two albums, a remix ep and the Pride ep and have also built up a sizable live not only in Scotland but throughout Europe. A full interview with Derek, Ian and lead singer John Brown will follow on here soon but as a prelude to that I thought a full review of the Pride ep would whet appetites.

Pride is a 7 track ep available at a bargain price of £3.50 from the band's website and ITunes. The lead track is We Won't Walk Away and it's my favourite here. It's a 5 minute synthpop classic with a main OMD style riff propelled along by an almost New Order like bass that immediately grabs the attention. There's a lovely arpeggiated part running through the track too and as with all Analog Angel songs, John's vocals are front and centre giving the song the band's trademark sound. Analog Angel's previous releases were far more industrial than this and given that their impressive live reputation has been built on that sound, We Won't Walk Away is a brave departure. If anything however the song will only increase their fan base. Not Alone is the next track mixing Yazoo era Vince Clarke synths with a Douglas McCarthy style vocal with some success. Let It Show follows again displaying to these ears a definite Vince Clarke influence this time more towards his early Erasure works. Track 4 is The Temple which is far harder than the first three tracks and puts me in mind of DAF or Nitzer Ebb. This is Analog Angel going back towards their industrial past but mixing it with an early 80's EBM feel. That's not to say that this is a retro sounding track - far from it. It's a modern take on that DAF sound. Lyrically it puts me in mind of Depeche's Construction Time Again which is no bad thing at all. Next up we have They Don't Understand in which a Dave Gahan esque vocal by John (again no bad thing) is propelled along by some great electronica displaying a mix of styles including once again a clear Vince Clarke influence. Before a hoard of Erasure fans descend  on the band expecting to find the new Love To Hate You (!) I should say that when I say a Vince influence I mean in the use of sounds and space within the music. The production here is very impressive. Eternal is the next track and is the hardest sounding track here mixing the Nitzer Ebb/EDM sound with an almost Alan Wilder in his darkest Recoil moments feel. Very powerful stuff. To finish up we have Feel Me which is perhaps the weakest track here although that is not a criticism of it as such - the other 6 tracks are tough to beat and Feel Me only suffers in comparison. 

Analog Angel have also commissioned a number of remixes of We Won't Walk Away all of which can be found on their Facebook page. Do check them out as there are some cracking remixes. There are more to come too including one from my band Western Electric. We have a lot to live up to!

Overall, Pride is an excellent ep and given that it's only £3.50 you really should get it. It's a great introduction to the band and once you've absorbed it go and check out their albums Dischord and The Thin Line (Between Love and Hate). All info is available on their website. There's much more to come from the band in the future with the new album in its' final stages and an increasingly hectic live schedule including a hugely impressive headline show at the recent BAS festival. Watch Analog Angel - they're only going to get bigger


One of my current projects is an article on the burgeoning electronic music scene in Glasgow which will feature one of the most innovative bands around at the moment - Machines In Heaven. They first came to my attention with The Glasgow Jihad ep (released on the excellent Black Lantern Music label) which I picked up through reading about it on their Twitter page a few months ago. Machines In Heaven are a 4 piece featuring Graham Crossan, Magic Daddy, Connor Reid and Davie Gwynne and they display a grand mix of influences from lo fi electro to wide screen, dare I say it, Depeche Mode-y guitar and synth sounds which of course finds favour with me. The Glasgow Jihad ep (links below) really is something you should be listening to,.

The first track is The National Monument, a three minute electro belter boasting some wonderful arpeggiated sounds, vocoder vocals and a one of the DM like guitar lines I mentioned above. It's the kind of track that deserves a big audience and really is very clever indeed. Next up we have Mumbo Jingo, a track which has already received airplay on a number of radio stations and rightly so. Again, electronics are primarily to the fore here with some delicious acid style bass and Vince Clarke like electronic stabs jumping in and out throughout. Again, perhaps I'm hearing what I want to hear but to these ears there's a definite Clarke influence here which is never a bad thing. Mixed in with the electronics are some almost Johnny Marr like guitar lines and it all builds towards a euphoric ending which is sadly all over within just under four minutes. Last up we have the remarkable bordersbreakdown. It is nearly nine minutes of sonic loveliness which starts off on a journey from Alan Wilder style production  to a Mogwai like soundscape via some beautiful piano, guitar and arepeggiated synth before walking into a club around 4 mins 38 and taking off in an explosion of electronica. We finally calm down around the 8 minute mark where we float off on a wave of ambient noise albeit one more of a Ghosts era NIN than Music For Airports era Eno. It is a stunning track and if you haven't heard it you are letting your ears down.

The Glasgow Jihad ep is something you should hear immediately - bandcamp link below. Machines In Heaven are currently working on new material and will be playing live throughout the summer. Catch them if you get the chance