The Black Dog – Neither/Neither
Sheffield's The Black Dog are as politically "fucking furious" as ever, the track titles on their 12th album doubling as a hit list. Their latest targets are 'truthers', 'hollow heads' and Them', the pitiless fear mongers and pedlars of disinformation they accuse of perpetuating chronic societal uncertainty.
Being an instrumental techno outfit, their music functions not to explicate their views on modern day psychological oppression but to measure its emotional toll – and the results are compellingly bleak. From the murky, brooding arrangements of its first half to the infectious, sledgehammer beats of its second, Neither/Neither is a journey through confusion, paranoia and restlessness that concludes in ferocious stimulation.
The primal thrill of later tracks is as unsettling as it is ecstatic, given the thematic references to mind control, but resistance proves futile. Besides the occasional strain of dodgy synth strings, this is a stirring exercise in a different kind of Orwellian boot stamping. [Andrew Gordon]