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Single Review – The Art Of Amputation – Distorted Pop Song/Californian English

Normally I don’t review singles this far in advance of their release date but thought I would play the (Relatively) early bird for a change.

The regular readers among you know that when it comes to certain aspects of music I can be quite a cynical man. I have spoken at length about my distrust of ‘side projects’ from members of successful bands and another thing which you can add to the list of things that make me nervous when reviewing music is the genre label ‘alternative.’ That can be alternative pop, or rock or whatever but I just don’t like that label. It tends to mean it’s pretty off the wall and sounds a bit crap but we want to be nice to we’ll just call it ‘alternative’ instead, because making alternative music is cool. However, there are always exceptions to the rule and today’s exception comes in the form of The Art Of Amputation.

Based in London The Art Of Amputation are Freddy de Lord (Keyboard, vocals, saxophone) Hugh Fox (Drums, drum-loops/programming, percussion) Allan Harrod (Vocals, guitar, keyboard) Mark Hyden Guitar, vocals) and Tim Harrod. (Vocals, percussion) The band began life as a duo made up of Hugh and Allan but they have been continuously adding members to achieve the sound which they have right now.

The main single here is Distorted Pop Song but the AA side Californian English is a good listen too so I’ll throw in a few words about that as well in minute. The word I’d probably use to describe Distorted Pop Song is ‘eclectic.’ It’s an atmospheric melting pot of ideas, styles and synth-led wonderings. There isn’t a lot of music out there that sounds like this right now. The 80’s-esque reverb on the drums feels like a throwback but the track as a whole feels so crisp and current. The production is first rate, it really is. The song is fantastically multi-layered but every tiny facet of the track serves a purpose. It’s not grandiose for the sake of it. The addition of the sax puts quite a unique spin on things and definitely helps this track stand out from the crowd.

Californian English is similar-ish in style, in so much as it has that same synthy sound but there’s a lot more tempo here. You can really feel the 80’s electronic influence but the guitar led indie style melody which runs throughout the track gives it its own unique twist.

In all honesty this is a million miles from the kind of music which I would listen to on a daily basis but something about it has really caught my attention. Distorted Pop Song in particular really has pulled me in. I love the sharpness and the crispness of the whole thing, it’s atmospheric but there is no wasted motion. It resists the temptation to get totally lost in itself and that is a fine achievement. While you can debate all day whether or not this sound will bring the band any sort of mainstream success, what is for sure is that it really is quite brilliant.

Distorted Pop Song/Californian English is officially released on 17th November

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