EMA

It’s only March, but I already can’t imagine another record coming close to delivering as fabulously dramatic an opening as ‘The Future’s Void’ this year; ‘Satellites’ is a perfect storm of erratic electronics and punishing beats, with Erika M Anderson on thrillingly aggressive vocal form. It sets the tone for an album that you know is bound to be experimental, but probably didn’t expect to tie its stylistic exploration together so neatly.

‘So Blonde’ is a modern update of the pop-rock posturing of Hole’s ‘Celebrity Skin’, and the disconcertingly delicate ‘When She Comes’ provides a moment for breath-catching on an album that veers from one idea to the next at breakneck pace. Neither of those tracks really have any business sitting alongside, say, the theatrical stomp of ‘Cthulu’ or ‘Neuromancer’’s gloriously weird blend of pseudo-tribal percussion, layered vocal chants and thick walls of synth, but the energy that Anderson’s sheer force of character brings to proceedings makes this a surprisingly cohesive effort.

The plodding ‘3Jane’ is probably the one misstep – lyrically, it plays with fire by flirting lazily with political ideas – but the irrepressibly urgent ‘Solace’ and atmospheric simmer of ‘100 Years’ more than make up for it. It’d be strange indeed if ‘The Future’s Void’’s brilliantly daring experimentation wasn’t subject to the same plaudits as, say, the new St. Vincent record. If Annie Clark’s the queen of off-kilter pop, Erika Anderson’s wearing the corresponding crown for rock.

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