The latest installment of the Cue Dot series finds the label stepping into murkier waters with the new Scissorgun album. Simon Tucker reviews.
Release Date: Out Now
Label: Cue Dot Records
Format: CD / Digital
Every great label, from Metalheadz to Invada has a unique identity which means that regardless of the genre being released it fits within the framework of every other release on the label and is identifiable as belonging to said label. One of the best examples of this is the celebrated Manchester label Factory Records who, from The Durutti Column to Happy Mondays had a style and ethos that permeated throughout their catalogue.
Over their relatively brief existence Cue Dot Records are fast establishing themselves as such a label where a cohesive narrative is being formed and as the label have made no bones about the influence of Factory on them it is fitting that for their first swerve into a darker territory they release the new full length album by Scissorgun who comprise of sound artist Dave Clarkson and Alan Hempsall of Crispy Ambulance whose name those aware of the Factory story will recognise.
As mentioned before, Psychological Colouring Book is the first release on Cue Dot Records to take a trip into the more shadowy side of electronic music taking in such styles as Industrial and Techno without ever losing its keen ear for catchy melodies which are scattered throughout. From the sleazy grime of opener The Grind to the contorted repetition of Sybarite, Psychological Colouring Book takes you on a trip through dark basements and hidden doorways.
Here is an album that breathes heavily on your neck and guides you into places that fill you with an equal amount of trepidation and pure adrenaline. Psychological Colouring Book places itself in the lineage of Suicide and 20 Jazz Funk Greats, from the clubland of Underworld to the sweat pits of NIN yet it never once feels disjointed or scattered. Every song on the album feels like it has been placed exactly where it should be (the art of a running order on an album is one that is vital yet often overlooked) so we travel from the brief respite of Norris’s Head to the pulse-throb of Honeymoon Guy then onto the twisted pop of Coercion without ever feeling like we are jolted suddenly or sideswiped. Here is an album that within its running time manages to convey an overall atmosphere throughout without ever compromising on musical experimentation or falling into a tedious repetition of stylistic traits.
Psychological Colouring Book is an album where you actually feel the humans behind the machines. You can see the wires and the extension leads, the sweat and the toil. It is an album proudly confrontational yet also has a great knack of hooking its claws under your flesh. It is an album full of Cenobites and stark light and personally this writer really hopes that Cue Dot continue to be brave and release albums that fall away from the light and embrace the shadows.