Published Sep 19, 2014Elizabeth Bernholz, the Brighton, UK-based writer/producer/composer/artist behind Gazelle Twin, cuts a singular figure in today's pop landscape. Whereas her debut album, 2011's critically acclaimed The Entire City, was heralded as a "triumph of art-pop splendour" and favoured more traditional harmonies and song structure, Unflesh does everything possible to distance itself from Gazelle Twin's previous material. Bernholz goes into full industrial-pop territory on her new full-length, with material that is less immediate and less accessible, but oh so intriguing.
Preceded by singles such as "GUTS" and "Anti Body," both very good indicators as to the life Unflesh would take, this new release is unrelenting and menacing in ways that are hard to understand, much like a Lynch film that just won't leave you days after viewing. Many reviewers were quick to note a resemblance to Fever Ray's Karin Dreijer Andersson on Bernholz's debut album, and while those resemblances remain with this new material, it would seem Gazelle Twin is ready to pick up the Knife's mantle and fill the void they're sure to leave after their upcoming final performance.
Unflesh contains more spoken word than actual singing and melodies, which makes the project entirely more arresting, prompting listeners to return again and again. The vocal experimentations on "Human Touch" recall Björk's exploration of the human voice on her groundbreaking a cappella album Medúlla, whereas the barks, glitches and ascending menace on "Exorcise" share traits with Björk's earlier work on Homogenic, especially the guttural rawness of "Pluto." "Belly Of The Beast" remains as chillingly amazing as when it was initially released in February. Unflesh is a bold and assertive statement for what pop music can do in 2014. (Last Gang)