Archive

"Unrestricted"

((Play It Again Sam/Dangervisit)); Electronica

By ​Phil ​Bennett

Almost 20 years and 10 years in, Archive have built a library of work that seems to just keep on building.

Released just nine months after their previous audio/visual album project, Axiom, Unrestricted, a remix companion piece to their latest album Restriction, is a grandiose mansion of many rooms, furnished by completely different designers with very different sets of eyes and ears.

From the downbeat to the explosive, it is a musical concoction that has the strange logic and inbuilt compass to draw you deep into its shadowy corners despite its constant shift in moods and styles.

On many of these tracks, Archive work their magic stealthily - the way the beehive drone that opens End Of Our Days makes way for its thunderous drum beat, the gradual morphing of acoustic bass and electronic synth riff that makes up the vibrant bedrock of 3rd Quarter Storm.

Defined more by their sense of theatre and their expanses of sound than by the fragile beauty of some of these melodies, Unrestricted is an album that creates Hitchcockian tension and drama through the building of mood followed by the red herrings of sudden surprise as they intriguingly bend the songs in and out of shape.

Highlights include Kid Corner, with its brutally honest lyrics about youth crime delivered within a claustrophobic dance shuffle - quite a headturning approach to such a sensitive issue - and the haunting, tender ballad, Black And Blue.

The real highlight, though, is the album proper as an entity of its own, a fine slice of atmospherica well worth getting swept up in.

Dramatic.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.