If there’s a Knife-shaped hole in your heart, head to casualty or fill it with this latest slice of Nordic electronica. Whilst Silent Riders are not exactly the same as Karin Andersson‘s late, lamented outfit, they operate in a similarly dark, menacing and downright thrilling sphere. Perhaps, in fact, they are closer to Andersson’s solo work as Fever Ray but then the opening sentence wouldn’t make nearly as much sense. Either way, it may only be February but it’s hard to see many records in 2017 greatly surpassing Silent Riders. It’s good, it’s very good indeed.
Based in Copenhagen, the elusive trio of Lu, Gee and C – that’s all we have for now – have conjured up a majestic piece of work. Across 12 tracks, they manage to sound utterly sophisticated yet without descending into the admirable but sidestepping raw pleasure. It is immaculate but also prickles the hairs on the back of one’s neck. Fortuitously timed, of course, what with the enthusiasm for all things scowling yet shiny from the frozen north.
“I See You” kicks things off with a totally committed statement of intent. Horribly deep and brooding with bass noises to worry an outsized whale, but, on top of that, a silky and laconic vocal. It may sound gentle at lower volume – open up the faders and layer upon layer of increasingly intimidating sound emerges. Beautiful, mournful melody and voice whilst also being machine-like and foreboding.
Luckily enough, “I See You” simply sets the tone and standard for the rest of the album. Smokey blues vocals, not unlike Portishead when they went a little gruffer, thunderous beats and squelches, not unlike, well, thunderous beats and squelches. Cheerful it ain’t but it sure is powerful. From the downtempo to a straight up, four to the floor, welcome to the thunderdome track like the outstanding ‘Animal‘. A track that manages to sound like ‘I Feel Love‘ if it was being reimagined by heavy machinery on a mission to break your ears.
Not a lot seems to be known about the three-piece. The fact that they are want to perform in masks doesn’t exactly help, of course, but a bit of self-mythology has never gone amiss in the world of electronic music. If Underground Resistance can carve out a career frequently spent in disguise, then why not? When the music sounds so dystopian and otherworldly, as here, it seems rather appropriate.
This is a record you probably need in your life. If you hear it and decide you don’t, your life is wrong. In their own words, “Silent Riders will see you now“. Take heed. Spectacular stuff indeed and a real thrill.