Digital Leather

Sorcerer
(Goner Records)

The dark electro-musings of Tucson artist Shawn Foree (a.k.a. Digital Leather) have never sounded more spastic, insidious, and danceable than on Sorcerer. This 12-track album blends quirky art-pop influences like Devo, Plastic Bertrand, and Tubeway Army with layers of synthesized desolation, lyrical angst, and gothic intensity to create a morose, machinistic masterpiece. The synths on the opening track, a robotic stomp called "Simulator," absolutely scream while being spanked by a digital drumbeat, throwing distorted banshee wails against a frantic, Moog-deep hook. Gritty garage-rock guitars slam against searing, spacey keyboard progressions in "Black Flowers from the Future," and "Pleasurebot" kicks up the creepy carnival vibe with sinister synthesizers that evoke images of melting carousels and pornographic clowns. It's all a house of smoke and mirrors, but there's some fun to be had, too, especially in the last five tracks of the album, which were all recorded live. "She Had a Cameltoe" is pure flappy-lipped, jerky-limbed '80s Brit punk, and "Plane" rocks like Joy Division jamming with the Ramones. Recorded by Foree himself and mastered by Goner Records labelmate Jay Reatard, Sorcerer casts a superb spell — powerful enough to cure the common music formula, tenuous enough to be its own mutating virus.

 
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