THE BLACK DOG – Spanners (1995)

Review by: Charly Saenz
Album assigned by: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

This time we go electronic. It is all about *the sound*, the groove. Find the right moment and put this on in an audio setup with a good bass performance (essential) and you’ll be able to enjoy an hypnotic ride. Mostly no vocals mean no distraction, the beat is the master here. But Black Dog are able enough to feed the groove with little details here and there to turn the repetition into a growing mantra. 

This is the kind of album where you don’t pay much attention to the songs individually. Doesn’t matter, it’s a cohesive monolithic experience after all. I get that feeling too with “Up” from REM, but there you have the catchy choruses here and there to remind you where you are. In this record you get lost in the surroundings. And it’s what we want. 

Anyway I’ll mention the loungy beginning with “Raxmus” and the keyboards that are gradually and gracefully introduced. And some tribal faraway voices together with matching drums, up to the robot voice in the final.  “Barbola work” has all these tingling effects and a powerful beat too. Sounds to me like a perfect theme for a TV show, specially for Latin America. It’s got a lot of swing. 

The long “Psil-cosyin” is a song that grows on me by the 8 minute mark when it becomes faster and more involved as all the little parts come together but I believe cutting this one in two would have been a greater benefit. “Chase The Manhattan” and its clever title is an intriguing song, works well for me to imagine a big 80s office with lots of people crowded together, machines screeching here and there and then a.. Chase by the 3 minute mark. 

I will also mention “Nommo” which is a quite drowsy number, welcome after the previous intensity.. “Pot Noodle” is also quite calm and stands out in the pack by adding some nice guitar here and there (synthethized?). Finally, “Chesh” is a very good album closer with that “harp like” keyboard pattern, almost Yes-like.

Not that I have a lot to compare with, but this album gets a PASS as an accomplished electronica piece for an evening sitting on the couching watching the trains go by your window. 

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Author: tomymostalas

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