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Attrition CDAttrition
Tearing Arms From Deities (Two Gods)

This will not be the first Attrition compilation to come your way - there have been several others in recent-ish years. In a way it's odd the band feels the need to release yet another retrospective of their work, but maybe the clue lies in the small print. This album comes to us via Two Gods, Attrition's own label, just set up after many years of recording for other imprints. But a label with no releases would be like a pub with no beer. Obviously it was necessary to get some product out there quick to build up the catalogue, and putting together a compilation does the trick very neatly. However, it has to be said that much of the music here has been compiled and re-released before, and if you happen to own previous Attrition collections such as The Hand That Feeds or Recollection, or indeed a smattering of the band's 'real' albums, you may find this release counts as something of an optional extra.

Some of the early Attrition tracks here - like 'Shrinkwrap', 'The Mercy Machine' and 'A Girl Called Harmony', by turns staccato, jumpy and operatic, eighties-vintage electronica mashed with violins and guitars (yes, Attrition once used guitars) - have all been around the block before, and here they are again, back for another go-around. That's not a bad thing, you understand: in fact, it's always a pleasure to hear Attrition doing their idiosyncratic weird-pop thing, mixing swoops and scrapes of violin with gloops and stutters of technology. Some of the tracks appear in remixed form ('The Mercy Machine' has splendidly beefed up beat, and a different vocalist from the familiar version), which adds a bit of interest and perhaps also a reason to grab this CD even if you've got the original tunes. It's interesting to trace the development of the band's sound over the years: from the righteous clatter of 'Monkey In a Bin' to the sci-fi cruise of 'A Few Of My Favourite Things'. The unique selling points of this album, I suppose, are a handful of obscure oldies, dragged out of the vaults for the first time in yonks. 'A'dam & Eva' is a real treat, honking along like a fairground organ on overdrive, while 'For The Child', remastered from a 1983 cassette, and sounding better than you'd expect from such a lo-fi source, is an endearing slice of electro-primitivism. I particularly dig that crazy sound of someone rattling a shaker near the mic - something I thought nobody ever did outside primary school music lessons! Attrition have certainly moved on since those days, and it's interesting to trace the course of their journey.

So, this is a good album, with some intriguing early-days selections - but, given the number of Attrition compilations already out there which cover similar territory, not, perhaps, an essential addition to your CD shelf. If you've never explored Attrition's strange electronic landscapes before, this isn't a bad place to dig in. But long-standing fans of the band might prefer to wait for the next realease of new material, rather than buy the old stuff again.


Essential links:

Attrition: Website | MySpace

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