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Attrition - Tearing Arms From Deities

Tearing Arms From Deities is a 16 track retrospective of Attrition. This collection compiled by Bowes attempts to capture the essence of Attrition the UK based electronic outfit he has led for well over two decades, and someplace between 15 and 20 albums. Attrition may be known to most for their mininal electronic sound drawing upon experimental theatrics and dark industrial techno pop as found on releases such as The Hidden Agenda and Dante's Kitchen, but in their vast discography they've flirted with stark, doomy electronics, dark electro-pop to classical reworkings of their own material. Tearing Arms From Deities takes in them all, with more besides including their contribution to The Elephant Table album, Dave Henderson's album of "difficult music" that grew from his Wild Planet column in the now defunct music paper Sounds. Alongside 'Dreamsleep' there's the anti-vivisectionist track 'Monkey In A Bin' (that appeared alongside The Smiths, The Colour Field...), the anti-consumerist single 'Shrinkwrap', and the little known 'A'dam and Eva'. These clutch of tracks catch Attrition in a sort of post-punk phase, grappling with electronics. The electro-funk of these tracks is somewhere between Hula and the Associates, with 'A'dam and Eva' a dirty decadent tale with lilting keyboards and sax squall that sounds like Siouxsie Sioux fronting the Legendary Pink Dots, a band Attrition were once closely aligned with.

The most accomplished sounds on Tearing Arms From Deities feature the precise, electronics fused with classical textures with Martin's deep heavyset voice pitted against the operatic soar of Julia Waller. 'Two Gods', 'Cosmetic Citizen', 'The Mercy Machine' are the best examples here amply showcasing why Attrition have found willing ears in the darkwave and electro-goth side of things. The classical interpretation of 'I Am (Eternity)', meanwhile, is a strong example of their ethereal tendencies, with arrangements by a member of the Paris Opera.

For a band so closely associated with darkwave the scope of Tearing Arms From Deities and the breadth of styles Attrition have covered is quite surprising. I do wonder though if Attrition's focus on industrial dance music in recent years hasn't hindered their popularity. The history of Attrition has been one beset by personnel and label issues, now finding themselves on their own label I hope they can make room to develop other areas of their sound, outside of the gothic-industrial electronics. Bowes's handpicked selection here is wide ranging yet Attrition releases over the past decade only tell one half of a story. For more information go to