Skinny Puppy hanDover

Skinny Puppy hanDover
It's been years since I sat down to listen to a new Skinny Puppy album. When I hit play on the band's latest effort, hanDover, I was gratefully surprised to find myself sucked into its combination of electronic distortion and sinister catchiness. Thematically speaking, hanDover is topical, tuned into the dissatisfaction with contemporary global economics fuelling the current protestor occupations of North America's major financial districts. Aesthetically, it's also on-theme, capturing the delights and oppressive failures of technological possibilities. The record starts on a jagged note, leaning toward frenetic aggression. The next few songs dip into a slower, more ambient melodic gloom, incorporating looping guitar hooks and piano lines, and moving toward monotone chant. Nearing the midway point, the vibe is quicker, danceable ― politics on the club floor. Things get more abrasive after that, embracing first the science fiction-y and then the horrific, before edging toward more dance-y techno beats again, albeit at a slower pace. Finally, hanDover closes without resolution, decaying into the extended, drum & bass-flavoured noise of the appropriately titled "NoiseX." Somehow I expected these Canadian pioneers of their genre to be washed up by now, or at least low on relevant ideas. Instead, they've reaffirmed industrial's harshly persistent appeal. (SPV)