The race is on
For just how long
They attack they defend
To reach the end

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

They race to the top
Until they drop
And they take the pain
Is it all in vain

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

Now they've lost their minds
And they seek to find
The very top of the hill
And some of them will

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run

See how they run
See how they run
See how they run


So, from their amazing debut album we move onto what many people regard as their definitive release - 'Anywhere'.

 

And it's an uncompromising start. Just in case anyone hadn't cottoned onto Tony's penchant for reversing sounds, the listener is presented with a full 1 minute of disorienting electronics. It certainly makes you take notice. Which was exactly the idea of course. Because at the 1 minute mark the track, indeed the album, literally explodes onto the soundstage. Can anyone think of a more potent strum of a guitar? To this listener, it's spellbinding and totally grips you for the journey to come.

The metronomic drumming confirms that this album will not be a radical departure from 'From A to B', more of a progression. The electronics are fantastic. The melody is picked out on a high register staccato synth voice. The vocoder touches are genius. And the bass fills the soundstage to capacity, especially on the soaring chorus. There's barely room for Tony's fantastic vocals (are they about life's rat race?), but they are delivered with the quality we expect. And the guitar all the way through is, well, NM at their best basically.

Repetition. I think we'll be mentioning it a lot in the weeks to come, but the boys develop repetition to a fine art on this album. And there's no better example than here. The "see how they run" chorus is slaughtered basically. But it doesn't sound slaughtered. It's mesmeric, captivating, it just burrows into the brain.

With 90 secs to go, they throw in a trump card when they fade the whole track leaving just the drums. They then throw in a bass synth line which could level buildings and rebuild a brilliant instrumental pastiche of the track to finish.

Nearly 6 minutes of genius. Pure synthpop genius. What a start to an album!

(Graham G)


It must have been quite a tough choice deciding what track to start this second album off with, and quite a brave decision to make it one with such a bizarre, seemingly endless intro! At almost one minute long, with its electronic burbles, whooshes and sirens - like some soundscape vision from a sci-fi past - this weird piece repeats itself to the point of making the listener wonder if their needle is stuck. What on earth is to follow? The tension mounts...

 

But then at 58 seconds you are suddenly awoken and left in no doubt as it bursts into life with fast 'metronomic' style electronic percussion. It's familiar yet subtley different to the previous NM 'beat'. There's lots of distinctive 'splashy' acoustic guitar work and an appealing openness to the sound, along with some great hooks.

It's all so highly energetic - a by now classic NM theme. Oh yes, this IS New Musik - have no fear!

Tony's vocal is expressive, but features no 'extra' treatment. The lyrics have a typical fullness, yet the chorus is very simple: "See how they run", repeated. So what's it all about? A nod to "Lady Madonna"? No, I think it's possibly an anti-war song a la "Dead Fish".

Vocodered snippets also ("Run"), for the first time.

As we enter the latter section, the layers and vocal fall off or fade out, and just the percussion remains constant. A very nice bassy 'buzz' synth then kicks in, and several layers of synth textures (some echo-drenched) fill out the sound very nicely, complimenting each other and setting an atmosphere which would continue throughout the album. This instrumental section of the track is especially enjoyable.

We are distinctly moving into the 1980s here. The sound has progressed: more keyboards, a slightly greater sense of spaciousness, and a little bit less of the previous 'band' sound. A little more electronic whilst at the same time retaining that classic and unique human warmth that typified From A To B.

It surprises you by the fact the track has by now approached six minutes in length, as your interest in retained right up to the very end with the all twists and turns.

93/100

A very promising start.

(Richard M)


Carving Knife - I usually skip the intro these days. It's possibly one of the best tracks on the album though. The acoustic guitar is tops (12 string?).

 

I especially like the instrumental ending, with that phat Mansfield synth bass noise that he perfected into a crunch on Warp. In 6 or so weeks time, I'll probably be comparing this instrumental ending with the instrumental beginning of Changing Minds.

Anywhere - This album is a mix of more upbeat stuff and slow compu-rhythm driven stuff. You could rearrange the tracks into 2 seperate sides and have 2 completely different albums. Still, Tony decided to mix them all up, so I guess that's how he wanted them to be heard. The 2 'feels' almost alternate, track by track. I first bought this album when it came out, but it was a promotional copy version in a 2nd hand record shop - I still have it somewhere.

(Rich E)