Skinny Puppy Weapon

Skinny Puppy Weapon
7
Skinny Puppy's latest is unapologetically electronic. Weapon begins with a retro sound — static-y, videogame-ish synth running through high contemporary production — before a moody groove leads into a spacious track interlacing smooth, round instrumental tones and Skinny Puppy's characteristically harsh vocal style, and so on. Weapon relies more on rhythm than melody, often creating cumulative complexity via the layering of simpler patterns. And the record is lined with noise laid down with a light touch — a bit of disruptive texture to supplement the softer tones. Weapon is, at least sonically, exploring the relationship and tensions between synth pop and industrial. Unsurprisingly, the album is also political — it's especially critical of gun culture — reflecting on the implications of power and control. Skinny Puppy craft a sense of sonic discomfort so carefully that we might guess it has a thematic, as well as aesthetic, function. The easiest tracks to get into are the heavier, more upbeat numbers ("paragUn" and "plastiCage"), but the more laidback "terminal" is an appropriate "stick with you" album closer. Its slow, dirge-y beginning is almost sentimental, like a synth pop requiem (even to the near-conventional organ sounds). But the abrasive noise gradually builds, the rhythms intensify, only to smoothly slip apart at the end, leaving us with an open ending that is delightful and disturbing all at once. (Metropolis)