Lights down. Here comes Attrition. Like an electronic band styled by Aubrey Beardsley, Attrition inhabit their own world. There wasn’t anything like Attrition when the band first emerged from the new wave undergrowth in 1980. There isn’t anything like Attrition now.
Martin Bowes, Attrition’s main man, around whom umpteen line-ups and collaborations have revolved over the years, cuts an enigmatic figure in his swirling cloud of joss stick smoke. The music is a swirling cloud, too, out of which emerges a deep, dark, freight train rumble of bass. Beats skitter like fidgety kittens. Sampled strings swoop and jitter. It’s all analogue ambience, but naggingly danceable at the same time; a surrealist, sepulchral disco. Martin Bowes growls a vocal that sounds like a 45rpm record being played at 16, while his co-vocalist, TyLean, pulls fragments of forgotten operas out of the atmosphere.
There’s new stuff in the set, from The Unraveller Of Angels, ttrition’s 21st album , and older songs that have obviously been given a good going-over by the mechanics. ‘Acid Tongue’, an Attrition live fave for years, has been souped up into a mighty thing now – prowling like a big cat, it’s a slice of killer boogie, all the more effective for being delivered by a band so matter-of-factly defiant in their glorious oddity. Attrition seethe and swoop and convulse in the smoke, and if you let yourself be drawn into the band’s serpentine flow, the sepulchral disco is a great place to party.
Nope, there’s nobody else like Attrition. They might’ve called onights event Reproduktion – but some things, you can’t reproduce.