Having reviewed his other album, I feel a bit apprehensive as to what Munkie's done with himself since.
Thankfully, this album is a mix of the sublime, the dark and the cheerful. Munkie has another cracking CD here, mixing dark synths, gorgeous vocals and some of the funkiest, downbeat drum patterns I've heard in ages. It's fair to say that 'Chemical Process' elevates Munkie into a bone fide artiste.
Opener 'Antidote To Strychnine' is a mellow piece of downbeat electronica, complete with some of the haziest, melancholic vocals ever. The sweeping synths and the minor chords whip about the track, giving it the edge that most 'chill out' (god, I hate that phrase) music lacks. In a word, niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
The album then changes pace, and from the sublime we go to dark via the up tempo. 'Dream Of You (In Colours)' is a happy-ish big beated effort, whilst 'More Precious Than Gold' is just plain scary in parts, with its vocodered (and not like Cher) vocals and its sinister synths, it really does give you the creeps. In a good way though.
'Fire In My Heart' is reminiscent of a Massive Attack if they weren't so paranoid from smoking weed all the time. Pulsating bass lines, trippy beats and soft synths all slowly bounce around like bubbles in a lava lamp. Oh, and those vocals... Kate Peters- you have one seductive voice.
The 808 comes out on '(We Are) Automated', which sounds like a weird mesh of early 80s electro a lá Afrika Bambataa/ Man Parrish, and Kraftwerk. Actually, it's not that weird as Afrika sampled 'Trans Europe Express' didn't he? Well, anyway, that's beside the point. The tinny, busy beats zip about, there are more sweeping synths and some more husky vocals.
The album's latter half starts with a paranoid, edgy instrumental (the title track) and the beautiful 'Shatter The Circles', featuring some gorgeous acoustic guitar, subtle piano and some more of Peters' fine singing. On 'Thin Skin' there's deep, haunting synths, quiet clicks from the drum machine and some acoustic guitar somewhere. It's slightly eerie, yet strangely heavenly.
The last three are business as usual ('Torn Apart'), ever so noir ('In My Darkened Room') and the hazy ('Cry No More Tears'). It works well though, and the album retains its cohesion and consistency, yet at the same time using different dynamics to achieve it.
Jason Clark has yet again proved that he's a talented young man. The production on this album is something to be proud of. The layered synths, processed beats and programmed everything-else are not easy to achieve, trust me. Yet he's put so much attention to detail into every track here, it's hard to fault. Yeah, some tracks are better than others, but even on the ones that aren't to your taste you can still applaud the production and the effort in which it's taken to make it.
Kudos to Clark/ Peters, you always make me smile...