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Catapulting away from black metal, with its 60-a-day phlegm hack, violent terror and minigun drums, James Kelly – formerly of Altar Of Plagues – goes it solo, trying his hand at darkwave electronica that veers between the ambient chaos of Doldrums or frequent comparisons Nine Inch Nails, Burial and oOoOO. Produced by The Haxan Cloak, What's Between, the debut LP from the London-based, Ireland-born Kelly (donning his WIFE guise), slips into drastically fresh territories. Though we've had a splattering of tracks/EPs from WIFE, we've not had anything this complete or sleek.

It's a deeply immersive record, one that will whisk you to faraway lands or subterranean realms. It's vivid, visual, like a good post-rock album. Fragments of choral and orchestral sound give What's Between a different feel to other dark electronic records. There's a whopping great organic streak that imbues a fantastical tint; in that way, there's a similarity between Kelly's output as WIFE, and producers and artists from Scandinavia, such as Pandreas, Rangleklods or When Saints Go Machine. It's the symbiosis between natural and synthetic that's intrinsically linked to places like Denmark and Norway, but that is also seeping into South London artistes like James Blake and the 'post-dubstep' crew (how we've not come up with a better label for that subgenre yet is frankly astounding). WIFE doesn't really sound like James Blake or Jamie Woon or whatever, but they share an approach; they're at opposite ends of a tiny spectrum.

What's Between creaks into life with the soft pitter-patter of 'Like Chrome', with its asymmetric arrhythmia and low-slung slinking clicks and far-flung slick synths. It's a spacey, astral projection – a commingling of soundscapes, echoes and dissociative elements that float near each other as opposed to gelling with one another. If you're expecting guttural, loud and abrasive shredding, well, you're not in Kansas anymore. 'Dans Ce' wields the 'orbiting' sound as well: it's as if there's a central pulse, dragging all the other sonic strands together with inherent gravity. The track is cyclic and hypnotic, like one of those Magic Eye puzzles, lulling you into transcendent bliss. Much of the record follows this pattern, but there are moments where Kelly shatters his own custom-made mould.

'Fruit Tree' is essentially straight-up synthpop. The vocals err towards an elegiac noir&B, far more crystalline than the clouded fug of his fuzz-prone snippets in tracks like 'Living Joy'. It clips and skitters, but with the inclusion of a pumped-up chorus, there's an infectious quality, and it bears resemblance to Holy Fire-era Foals. 'Further Not Better' has a more traditional structure too. It's more overtly weighted towards string-led electronics, with a gorgeously raw cello burbling beneath sacrosanct hymnal hooks; it's a symphonic eulogy, poignant and affecting until the last, bitter, grandiose crescendo.

Kelly's WIFE gambit is a swell move, and he's bettering himself with each subsequent revelation. What's Between is hopefully not the pinnacle, though it is a fantastic demonstration of talent and ingenuity, because there's so much promise in his brand of noise. WIFE marries the intensity and raw energy of Kelly's background in metal with the subtler inflections of electronica and aquatic pop fluidity; in doing so, he forges an intense album, well worth getting sucked into.

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