All the shit that’s going on at the moment is put into perspective when Cathy Lucas’s one heartfelt wish for her new Vanishing Twin album is “that one day we’ll all be part of the United Federation of Planets”. It’s not just meant as a casual metaphor for “let’s all get along”. The Age of Immunology is a psychedelic space-race of scientific activism, asking us to confront a deconstruction of reality and embrace the pluralism that’s being needlessly destroyed in contemporary politics.
The album plays like a futuristic estate agent trying to pitch a life in an alien world. The rippling sci-funk ‘Planète Sauvage’ lets you befriend a giant blue humanoid in a cult French animation, and album opener ‘Krk (At Home In Strange Places)’ might begin with Croatia, but it ends with a hallucinogenic Sun Ra-esque score to a cinematic Western. It might just be the fullest sounding track to have ever been recorded on an iPhone – it’s good to know Apple has made it to the next reality.
A Bauhaus-flecked photograph of the band with hypnotists and hands raised promotes the album, looking like they’ve just stripped the colour from Sonia Delaunay. It’s a rare occasion where image and sound join up perfectly. Sorcerous crackles lead you through spiritual future-jazz musings on ‘Cryonic Suspension May Save Your Life’. The low-temperature freezing of human corpses is a surreal leap, sure, but made feasible by Susumu Mukai’s hypnotically swirling basslines and Valentina Magaletti’s krautrock percussion, realising the same sonic lift-off as in their early work with Floating Points and The Oscillation.
The futuristic worlds on Immunology are both ominous and tantalising, like staring into Kaa’s eyes or spinning yourself dizzy, imagining your brain to detach slightly from your skull. Vanishing Twin have only been playing together for four years, but they’ve somehow managed to invent and soundtrack the intergalactic afterlife.