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Naked Lunch - Beyond Planets (2014) - Review

Band: Naked Lunch
Album title: Beyond Planets
Release date: 21 February 2014
Label: Sub Culture Records

01. We Are
02. Slipping Again, Again
03. Rabies
04. Emotional Turmoil
05. Le Femme
06. Alone
07. Weekend Behaviour
08. Slipping Again
09. Glow
10. Fade Away

Naked Lunch, a name that sounds familiar doesn't it? I won't be writing long stories about this truly legendary British band and one of the pioneers of electro punk or sometimes noted as the fathers of gothic dance music, as you can read everything and more in this interview we did with them recently over HERE. But let me tell you just this that the band was formed back in 1979, splited up in 1981 after some very successful singles and live appearances, then reformed again for a short time in 1985 and everything went silent again until 2010 when original members Tony Mayo, Paul Davies, Mick Clark and Cliff Chapman started writing new material. Later were joined by Mark Irving and sexy muse Jet Noir and what has been started over 30 years ago finally returned in top condition and released what was needed, their debut album.

Album named Beyond Planets is a collection of new and old songs of the band. Of course, the old ones were reworked and got a contemporary sound, but there's still the old good charm in them. Naked Lunch's sound is based on electronics and there's no secret that the modern technology gives much more possibilities in creation of sounds and they exploited this in a big way. Once you'll get drowned into the epic atmospheric opener "We Are" you'll discover that in the new songs most of the primitive punkish rhythms were substituted with dark ambiances, melodic song structures and some psychedelic elements that have its peak in charming Mayo's raspy yet velvet vocals that are half spoken, half sung. Strong beats, interesting electronic elements from outer space give a lot of depth to sometimes minimalistic sound compositions, not to mention how erotic everything becomes when backing whispers of Jet come into the palette. Yet not everything is about electronics, just listen to marvelous vintage post-punk/gothic rock guitar grips here and there, to find that out I suggest you listening to "Weekend Behaviour".

There's no secret that I slightly prefer new songs over the old ones, before mentioned "We Are", hypnotizing dark masterpiece "Alone" or cinematic, somehow diabolic "Glow" can be counted as pure jewels in the dark electronic music spectrum. Also "Slipping Again, Again" which is a new version of danceable club hit "Slipping Again" works out just fine. Then rather more upbeat alternative track "Emotional Turmoil" will wake you up whenever heard and make you wanna move your feets. Still everything is wrapped up in a kind of gloomy, sometimes mysterious veil. I would only skip the silly track "Rabies" as it somehow ruins the atmosphere of the album with its pure, rather childish 80's alternative electro/pop/punk vibes, but even this one I'm sure will find its audience and I perfectly understand why they inserted it as it shows where the bands roots are. Sometimes the repetitive rhytms and catchy melodies can remind you of German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, but please don't get distracted by this fact as Naked Lunch are pretty original in what they are doing.

Naked Lunch add smoothly a certain dose of humour and psychedelia in their music and are professionals in keeping their songs dynamic as hell, so there are no worries that the listener could become bored. I believe that guys must have a soft spot for old 60's-70's science fiction movies as sometimes I've got the impression of beign in one of them while listening to Beyond Planets. Yeah, also the cover artwork confirms that. Album has a very good production. Really good job they achieved with it, not to mention the perfect mix and mastering of the album. So, Naked Lunch with their third come back are in a solid form and Beyond Planets is an album for memoirs of dark electronic music. Now the first step is behind them and I'm eagerly waiting what's there to follow.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10