ADD N TO (X)
ALBUM MUTE RELEASE: SPRING 1999 REVIEW: MAY 22, 1999
The British trio Add N to (X) have made themselves quite a name with their bleeping and hissing moog synthesizers and pounding live drums. Their first Mute single, "Little Black Rocks in the Sun" from last summer, was a furious ten minute plus musical journey, accompanied by thunderous hip hop beats and shattering electronic noise. That song is not featured on their newly released second album "Avant Hard", and that is a bit of a shame.
There are also times when Add N to (X) takes a tounge-in-cheek humouristic approach that is mostly annoying. A song like "Barry 7's Contraption" only irritates me in all its forced craziness. Those times make me long for the densely grey, claustrophobic feeling that made the band name a song "The Sound of Accelerating Concrete" on their debut album "On the Wires of Our Nerves".
But "Avant Hard" has enough bright moments to make that excusable. Add N to (X) are at their best when the music takes a darker, more edgy shape. "Revenge of the Black Regent" is a perfect example of this. There are also times when Add N to (X) are more rock'n'roll than ever before. Both "Robot New York" and the slightly Boredoms-esque single "Metal Fingers in My Body" have savagely rocking drums and distorted synthesizers.
"Avant Hard" swings wildly between the accessible and the disturbing, between easy and uneasy listening.