Label: Hassle Release date: 26/04/10 Link: Myspace MP3: Crash Tactics I’ve long been an admirer of 65daysofstatic’s work; in fact, I’d probably list them amongst my favourite bands. But remaining impartial for this review of course, whilst We Were Exploding Anyway by no means disappoints, neither does it truly astonish. We Were Exploding Anyway is a more successful meshing of 65dos’ electronic and analogue elements than convoluted and over-intricate previous album The Destruction of Small Ideas. Although the Sheffield four-piece have displaying an increasing penchant for predominantly-electronic tracks in the past (see The Distant and Mechanised Glow of European Dance Parties EP), WWEA is unexpectedly dance-oriented, displaying not so much touches of electronica as foundations which tracks are built upon. Gone are the terrifying and astonishing lintels of solid distortion; indeed none of these tracks could be characterised as beyond the sonic palette of any reasonably open-minded music fan, much less ‘terrifying’. Coupled with the stylishly minimalist Euro-noir artwork, it would appear that 65dos are making a break for commercial appeal. Consequently, WWEA’s overall impression is slick if a tad restrained. There’s nothing here that makes me want to flail my limbs in so uninhibited a manner as would suggest my motor skills failed to successfully develop during infancy like ‘Retreat! Retreat!’ does. Not even ‘Dance Dance Dance’, though an intro of convulsively tremendous floor tom pounding is the highlight of its staccato bass scheme. I once read a criticism of 65’s albums claiming they sound as if they’re recorded from outside a shed with the band playing inside. We Were Exploding Anyway largely gets around this problem; ‘Mountainhead’ begins with a bass beat that quickly corrupts into 65dos’ familiar glitch beats and a pounding low end thump. ‘Crash Tactics’ similarly and satisfyingly immerses the listener in the mix, though it’s the first time a 65dos track has sounded like it could do with that extra lyrical layer. Some of the album – ‘Crash Tactics’ included – veers alarmingly closely to the nu-rave-punk missteps of The Prodigy’s Invaders Must Die; ‘Go Complex’ and ‘Weak4’ are particularly guilty of lulling into this trap at times. The Cure’s Robert Smith (zomg!, etc) provides that vocal layer, guesting on the cut-up would-be-club-anthem ‘Come to Me’, which hits a thrilling stride and is representative of We Were Exploding Anyway’s most successful moments. These are its darkly ambient droning tracks, where the album sounds refreshingly distilled, concentrated and clinical; similarly ‘Debutante’ is starkly yet organically beautiful, segueing into closer ‘Tiger Girl’. The rollicking, bubbling ‘Tiger Girl’ is for the most part a lot like something The Field would come up with on a particularly experimentative day. It can be described as ‘epic’ – being ten minutes long and arguably the album’s highlight – but it’s troublingly unclear whether ‘Tiger Girl’ is the highlight on its own merit or simply because it’s ten minutes in length. It seems like the band could’ve essentially strung anything out to ten minutes and such a bold move would be lauded regardless; consequently the ‘magnum opus’ tag is something of a burden. Like We Were Exploding Anyway as a whole I recommend it thoroughly, but with reservations previously outlined. Photobucket