Political Science PhD student John Maus makes electronic music that sounds like the future, through the ears of a sci-fi fan in 1983. That’s to say that third album ‘Pitiless Censors’ sounds, in 2011, completely retro, like some lost Cabaret Voltaire record. Maus mumbles like a baritone monk gargling reverb most of the time (and certainly on ‘Quantum Leap’), making him sound a lot like Blank Dogs did two years ago, which is no doubt due to his time working with Gary War in 2005. Live, he’s an intense mess, close to Ian Curtis’ unhinged, disco-fanatic of a brother. Here, he’s far more restrained and all the better for it. On ‘Hey Moon’ he steps outside his dystopian norm and gives us a rather beautiful piano lullaby, while a cover of ‘Cop Killer’ is both hilariously bleak and dramatically cool, just like the best of the ’80s.

By Mandy Drake

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