Some trends in pop are just that, trends, but some innovators settle in for the long haul, and in future centuries, scholars will study them, and wives will drag husbands to symphony concerts of Kraftwerk or Falco. Laugh if you will. I always try to entertain you. VNV Nation (Ronan Harris on electronics, lyrics, and vocals backed by Mark Jackson on drums) is one of those in-it-for the-long-haul grooves. They’ve been at electronic music for a quarter century and have just released another wide-ranging album that has something for everyone.
“Teleconnect Pr. 2” starts quietly and builds to a Hollywood scale anthem, complete with deep lyrics and a post-apocalyptic melancholy that bookends with opening track “Generator,” another moody and dark oscillator-based tune that would shake your guts loose if you had a decent subwoofer on your iPad. You need to be prepared for this album. It’s not a bunch of happy-go-lucky pop tunes, but rather a psychological dive into your own dark soul. When the beats kick in, you need to be focused.
For the advanced listener, I’d pop a cheap B&W Sci Fi or Hammer horror film in the video player with its sound off — no matter what’s on screen it will somehow weirdly sync up with this duo’s energy. By track three, “Primary” (not to be confused with The Cure’s version), we are in a postmodern disco with a 160 BPM dance line and dark and ominous vocal — are we to shake our booties or Xbox out and race animé crash cars jacked up on Four Loko with Red Bull chasers? Either way it’s a heart-stopping track. As we pass onto “Lost Horizon,” heavenly electronic voices drone until the beats drop, then it’s another full-ahead race to a finish line somewhere in outer space. I find it mysterious AND exhilarating.
I could go on, but my ticker is telling me to quit while I’m alive, so I’ll let you discover the rest of this invigorating collection on your own.