Reviews

Powell
Sport

(XL)

6/10

Oscar Powell’s debut album starts with 36 seconds of piercing static, the kind that’s exhilarating at punishingly high volume in a sweaty windowless box, but which is also, unfortunately, just mildly irritating at home-listening level. It sets the tone for the rest of ‘Sport’, an undeniably substantial slab of intelligent, gritty electronica that probably sounds incredible at Berghain but is a tougher listen pretty much anywhere else. That’s not to say the record’s without its intrigue.

Last year Powell trolled Steve Albini by publishing a snotty email he received from the Shellac legend on giant billboards, and his prankster humour shines through here too with his choice of bizarro samples: he appends heavy, motorik ‘Junk’ with a northern voice cooing, “that’s better, that’s Mellow Magic” seemingly in reference to every Uber driver’s favourite late-night radio station, and ‘Plastic’’s arrangement of cut-ups is pleasingly peculiar. Ultimately, though, while there’s lots to admire within ‘Sport’’s lemony synths, thudding programming and staticky confrontationalism, an hour of this aggression is rather exhausting.

New monthly memberships available

Here’s a new thing: our membership scheme now has a pay-monthly option, plus a load of exciting new digital stuff for people who support what we do. It’s actually excellent value, honest, and will help us continue to promote new independent artists and labels.

Sign up and you’ll receive our physical magazines delivered to your door, our digital editions, exclusive podcasts and playlists and access to our EXTREMELY glamorous Members Lounge. You’ll be the envy of all your friends.