- In 2014, Black Merlin released the Amazing Exotics EP on the label Crimes Of The Future, who described it as a cross between avant-garde '80s pop and Berlin techno—"Trevor Horn heads to Berghain at 3 AM Friday and stays till Monday." These two worlds collide in a not dissimilar way on Archives, whose five tracks span synth pop, EBM and techno, all made to an impressive standard.
"Agro" and "Shock" are the techno tracks. The former's drones and shakers crackle as though flowing with volatile electrical current. "Shock"'s meat-hammer pump and corrosive harmonics are equally grim. On "The Alpaca Pet Boys," we get a second dose of "Relax"-meets-Snax. Its rich bass and vocal sighs—sounds you might recognise from classic tracks by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Yello—drive a synth pop tribute with a ton of dance floor appeal. This '80s-charged mood also dazzles on the EBM-ish "12515," whose vox synths and phasing effects ripple like heat haze. "Laz" brings some eventual relief. Once its humming chords and lead fade, an oceanic shimmer lingers. It's the first time across 49 minutes that Archives lets up.
C1 The Alpaca Pet Boys