808 State Transmission Suite

808 State Transmission Suite
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In the late '80s and early '90s, 808 State helped pioneer British electronica with a trio of LPs, influencing pioneering artists like Aphex Twin and Björk along the way. Unfortunately, their three subsequent releases saw the Manchester quartet gradually losing the plot, relying too much of guest vocalists while trying to keep up with their big beat peers.
 
After self-releasing a pair of EPs earlier this year, 808 State seem revitalized, releasing their first full-length in 17 years, Transmission Suite. Returning to their instrumental acid house roots, the pared-down lineup (now just featuring Graham Massey and Andrew Barker) have put together a sprawling 15-track throwback that focuses heavily on the band's use of bended synth lines, disjointed rhythms and urban beats — best demonstrated by standout tracks like the polyrhythmic "Cannonball Waltz," the dramatic/thematic "Trinity" and the perfectly layered "Carbonade."
 
Although there may be a few too many half-baked ideas thrown around, as tracks like the hollow "Ujala" and the clunky "Bushy Bushy" demonstrate, 808 State nonetheless come off focused, confident and delightfully wistful on Transmission Suite. (Independent)