Music

The Legendary Pink Dots: Seconds Late for the Brighton Line

Seconds Late is a refreshing return to pure goth atmospherics; in other words, it's over-the-top done right.


The Legendary Pink Dots

Seconds Late for the Brighton Line

Label website: http://www.roir-usa.com/news/
Label: ROIR
US Release Date: 2010-10-05
UK Release Date: 2010-10-04
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Writing a review for the Legendary Pink Dots' Seconds Late for the Brighton Line without access to a thesaurus would prove near impossible. Without one, a review for this release -- the 27th in the band's 30-year career -- would break a record for the amount of times "eerie" and "ominous" are used in succession. An album of this caliber of brooding risks being written off as over the top, but in the hands of the Legendary Pink Dots, Seconds Late is more a refreshing return to pure goth atmospherics; in other words, it's over-the-top done right.

As soon as vocalist Edward Ka-Spel begins intoning in "Russian Roulette" with his bare, rangeless voice, we know we are in for a doomy delight. "One is where I'd like to be, two is a crowd, three is where we have an argument that's way too loud," Ka-Spel counts off, perhaps checking off the years of the 21st century, anticipating an apocalypse on 2012 and its aftermath around 2018. The lyrics are malleable, but the pervading desolation of the sounds backing Ka-Spel heartily supports this interpretation.

Ka-Spel's vocals, while lacking in range, prove themselves equally adaptable. When lyrics become extra surreal or as the music mellows, as on the almost sweet "Someday", the vocals take on a Syd Barrett quality. There are more than a few moments scattered throughout Seconds Late that evoke the early incarnation of Pink Floyd, had that band's output been fortified with synths and keyboards.

Many of the tracks on Seconds Late begin with minimal, or at least buried noises, blips, and frequencies, then throws in a startling sound or two before fading out. Sometimes, this tactic works wonders, a case in point being "No Star Too Far", a nine-and-a-half-minute opus which begins with some spoken word lines from Ka-Spel and little else, then sees Phil "Silverman" Knight making fine use of his keyboard effects buttons, from "dentist's drill" to "mutilated bagpipes". "Radiation Day" pulls the vaguely clever trick of discharging what sounds like a stampede of CGI horses after Ka-Spel intones, "I will ride you like a stallion."

Elsewhere, everyday noises integrate themselves nicely: while listening to the album during a bus ride, the beeping of the bus backing up seemed right in step with the chilly keyboard swirls and blips of "Leap of Faith". This added noise also worked in making the song's chorus of "Feeling so alone now / I really need a hug / Maybe more I'd clean the floor for your contaminated love" all the more unsettling. All this chilliness and post-apocalyptic worriment ultimately lead to "Ascension", a 13-minute instrumental that, after so much synthy darkness, comes across as ethereal by comparison.

If we are to take Seconds Late as a concept album about life following the apocalypse, then the album also implies that, in such a world, whoever survives becomes their own God. Although the journey Ka-Spel and Knight take us on is barren, the payoff is fully worthy, no matter the amount of synonyms one relents to along the way.

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.