Detachments - Fear No Fear

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  • The moody, claustrophobic debut from London trio Detachments is an immaculate marriage of groove-centered post-punk and early acidic Warp-style synth percolation. It's a slightly-more lysergic reincarnation of the Factory Records sound, jacking into the transitional energies loosed right at that label's historical tipping point from mechanic rock to synth-pop, somewhere around the time of New Order's first record Movement, or Section 25 circa "Looking from a Hilltop." While this has been oft-mined territory as of late, and while it's pretty easy to engage in the reference game with a sound so indicative of beloved past innovations, "Fear No Fear" isn't playing for style points or spot-the-influence brainteasers. Stylistic tendencies are neatly straddled and synthesized throughout such that, you could get away with calling it electro-disco, as it does make use of the rigid, minimal and abrasive synth-lines of the former and rhythmic elements of the latter like handclaps, tambourines and shakers, but it also wouldn't be out of place in any number of other hyphenated critical neologisms. Detachments' original version is powered by a sonorous, hi-verbed minor synth-bell riff that nicely dovetails the punchy, aggressive live-drum groove that kicks in full-force after thirty seconds of post-punk portent. Distorted vocals intone in affectless, industrial deadpan. Halfway through, the track begins to drown precariously in swirling electronics like a levee in a storm, then there's a moment's breath of respite before the dam bursts and gushes towards the finish line. An atmospheric, energized gloom pervades, but never swallows up the synth hooks and half-chanted singing, the result being one of the more compelling live-band dance tunes you're likely to hear all year. Perhaps due to the density of the original, both remixes here bushwack through the clutter to carve out expansive, streamlined pressure-cookers that are allowed to gradually arc and coast. The Moscow remix takes the long road, stretching out to thirteen minutes, giving room for the acid-house inclinations to grow wings. It's a strategy of exhaustion, playing out every compositional permutation for its own sake. Shaggy and tremendous, it's highly effective, but at least four minutes too long nonetheless. Naum Gabo, AKA Jonnie Wilkes one half of Optimo, doesn't wildly alter the sonic recipe of the original, leading his remix off with some added crisp, echoey synth stabs that he lets carry the flag for the bulk of the mix. It sounds mostly like he's given the track a good scrub-down, washed off some of the Manchester grit (including, sadly, the live kit propulsion) and given it a bow-tie in time for tea.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Fear No Fear (Original Mix) A2 Fear No Fear (Naum Gabo Remix) B Fear No Fear (Moscow Remix)