12 June 2006


abikuThe other new release from Seattle's Autonation Records is the debut long-player (unless you count the five privately released cd-r albums) from Abiku, called "Location". Originally a four-piece act from Philadelphia, they slimmed-down to a duo, Josh (keys and programming) and Jane (vocals) , before relocating to Baltimore. The album gives me another glimpse into the small but significant world of the US Electropunk scene, featuring fourteen short, sharp electronic shocks over the course of 26 minutes. Jane's vocal style veers from a bleating John Lydon-like whine to full-on deranged screeching, which, combined with Josh's pummeling beats and nagging detuned synth onslaughts makes for an intense listening experience, though frankly I don't think I could endure it for more than half an hour at a time, so the album length is just about perfect. I think my favourite track is probably "Horns", which has a vague '80s electro-funk feel in the beats. There's lots of interesting textures and ideas, but they usually only get used in the intros or breakdowns, providing a welcome counterpoint to all the mayhem, apart from a couple of quieter moments - "Folded" is a dreamy ambient sketch and final track "Serendipity" features some nice resonant synth drones. Its an interesting little album, though not quite as good as Metalux, the female duo who's creepy, haunted sound stole my heart a couple of years ago. As far I can tell, Abiku are almost constantly on tour (average 100 shows a year), so look out for them coming to a city near you (if you live in the States, that is).