The argument always makes for a good debate, but in more than a few minds Killing Joke is a rarified entity in that the geezers have never released a piss-poor album. There have been slight detours and records with a bit more filler than fans would have liked, but an outright Lulu or Cold Lake moment has thankfully eluded the post-punk grandpappies, and that’s going back to their self-titled debut 35 years ago.
Pylon continues that grand tradition of quality tunes presented in an expansive, grandiose context but never forgetting that if you can’t hum or tap your toe to it, you might as well capture the sounds of people laughing at squirrels falling out of trees after getting the equivalent of shit-hammered on fermented apples.
Pylon‘s modus operandi is laid out on the bar from the off with “Autonomous Zone”s elementary architecture that has the rhythm section driving on straight-ahead patterns that incorporate disco-ish hi-hat hissing and subtle funk accents as Kevin “Geordie” Walker weaves slinky and echo-y chord drags and effects-riddled note sequences in and around the pulsating. What really stands out on Pylon – and makes Pylon stand out – are the production effects and the vocal performance of Jaz Coleman.
The former element ramps up subtle textural layers, keyboard swells, effects noises and the like that hiding in plain view and intelligently complementing everything from the workmanlike chug of “New Jerusalem,” the ethereal wash of “Euphoria” and more metallic tracks like “Delete” and the aforementioned “Autonomous Zone.” Then, there’s Coleman, employing his usual gristly baritone in a variety of timbres that range from cool and soothing to harried and almost death metal-like (“I Am the Virus”). Not only does the diversity of his attack make this a tremendously epic-sounding album, but Coleman’s excellent vocal phrasing, along with the dynamic transitions into infectious sing-a-long choruses make this an album that will worm its way into the listener’s head.
And because EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SONG possesses an award-winning refrain, this will be a collection of tracks that both the suspecting and unsuspecting will be able to embrace while still discovering angles and nuances provided by the strata of supporting sonic scaffolding.
01. Autonomous Zone
02. Dawn of the Hive
03. New Cold War
05. New Jerusalem
06. War on Freedom
07. Big Buzz
09. I am the Virus
10. Into the Unknown
Run Time: 59:43
Release Date: October 23, 2015
Check out the song “Euphoria” here.