Soccer96 - Tactics EP Music Album Reviews

Two-thirds of The Comet Is Coming, plus poet and saxophonist Alabaster DePlume, offer ecstatic anthems for battling fascism, capitalism, and catastrophe.

For most of a decade, London’s Soccer96 were satisfied with simply being fun. Most every track from the explosive electronic duo felt like another instantaneous celebration: two or three minutes of carousel keyboards and squealing synthesizers, stretched like neon spandex across a skeleton of dancing drums. Soccer96 bestowed these kinetic pieces with puns and playful references, even employing personal aliases that suggested gaming handles. “Our music feels like playing a game,” Danalogue, or keyboardist Dan Leavers, once acknowledged, “on two-player mode.”
Tactics, Soccer96’s first release in two years, is as propulsive as anything from that past. Betamax, or drummer Max Hallett, pairs the spring of prime disco beats with the long-range insistence of krautrock. Danalogue shapes mellifluous melodies that flash out of the dark, like a nightclub’s synchronized lights. Peppered with cowbell and buttressed with bass from engineer Capitol K, these tracks unfurl like extended instrumental mixes of some irrepressible dance hit.

But on Tactics, Soccer96 have added an element so obvious it may seem overdue: a lyrical theme. Working with saxophonist and poet Alabaster DePlume, who’s already released one of this harried year’s most heavenly records, Soccer96 build a three-song suite that excoriates infinite capitalism, lambastes generational apathy, and foretells a perilous revolution. Tapping deep traditions of revolutionary jazz and radical punk, Tactics offers motivational anthems not only for keeping up the fight but for shaming others to join in, too.

Soccer96 exist in tandem with The Comet Is Coming, Betamax and Danalogue’s trio with visionary saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. After Hutchings sat in for some of their early sets in London’s hotbed of hybridized jazz, they launched their spiritual-jazz-meets-ecstatic-electronics wonder. Hutchings is a master of shaping larger conceptual frameworks for his music. Sons of Kemet’s Your Queen Is a Reptile, for instance, celebrates the stories of Black women while chastising the British monarchy. Shabaka and the Ancestors’ We Are Sent Here by History reimagines the future of utopias by reconnecting with ideas from South Africa.

Soccer96 have now borrowed that guiding principle—that they can sound fun and say something—for themselves. “I Was Gonna Fight Fascism” is a seven-minute sendup of would-be protestors who are too busy, preoccupied, or scared to help save society. Though a trenchant mockery, it’s as delightful as LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge” or ESG’s “Erase You,” twin predecessors that turn taunts into hooks. During “Children Will Dance,” DePlume evokes the elegant menace of the apocalypse-minded David Tibet as he offers up nightmarish scenarios of exploitation. With its rubber-band bassline and acid-house keyboards, though, the song sounds like a refutation of that doom, a dance one step ahead of the demons.

“Buy It” is the true call to arms here, begging to be stretched for a quarter-hour onstage in front of a sweaty crowd yelling the title back at DePlume in belligerent antiphony. As the drums and circuits tango around him, DePlume recites a sardonic list of the pleasures people try to purchase: sexual satisfaction, a head of hair, a just future, more money itself. “Do you want personal distance from the colonial crimes that made your comfort and nourishment possible? Do what everyone else does,” he commands at one point, smartly breaking his grand self-indictment across the beat. “Buy it,” he sneers, the band joining his Greek chorus of condemnation.

When exasperation overwhelms DePlume, he screams into his saxophone, summoning the brittle pleas of Albert Ayler. Betamax and Danalogue rush like a river beneath him, ushering him toward his next anti-capitalist grievance. This vitriolic liturgy reinforces the little ways we can wound capitalism—that is, we can’t buy happiness, so stop trying. More important, though, it’s a pointed reminder to challenge the broader systems that perpetuate inequality, the final boss of our global video game. At a moment when white folks solicit multi-generational forgiveness by Venmo-ing Black people a few bucks instead of demanding larger conversations about reparations and reshaping policy, “Buy It” feels like theme music for the bigger battle. This isn’t the kind of carefree video-game glee Soccer96 might once have imagined. But their reinvention arrives right on time.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Soccer96 - Tactics EP Music Album Reviews Soccer96 - Tactics EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, July 13, 2020 Rating:

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