Album Review

Second Layer – “World of Rubber” – [Dark Entries]

Thurston Hunger   9/11/2015   12-inch, A Library

Tracks from a Uk duo circa 1979-81, from the newsprint
insert, a quasi-disparaging review refers to this music
as “Gloomerama.” Which to me is both apt and a compliment
of nearly the highest calibre. Unfortunately it is
tempered by the fact that one of the two gents in this,
guitarist/basist/singer Adrian Borland, took his own
talented life in 1999. He had flirted with fame with
a somewhat successful project, The Sound (KFJC has a
bunch of their older material). Honestly this Second
Layer work gets the first seed for me. Borland and
bandmate Graham “Green” Bailey, who was also in The
Sound, refer to this project as “fun” contrasted to
work in The Sound. The lower case sound here is quite
varied. “I Need Noise” (a KFJC plea, if ever one was
uttered) well preceeds more notable noise rock. “The
Telephone Call” is a Negativland/Scanner phreaklet.
And followed by a delightful “Deadly Norweigian Attack
to boot, more tape-play and Gysin splicin’. There’s
often a dismal thread in some of the lyrics, both
political and personal, but the album does have a
playfulness that buoys it along. Blowing off steam
away from the big label dreams (and pressure).
With some synth, and 80’s drum machines, this fits
with the Dark Entries menu, but it’s far from icy
minimalist or bleak dance floors. I think the key
here is Bailey gets to tweak out, and Borland’s ear
for a sweeter tune is often embedded in a more
sour sound. Fans of that ol’ Cherry Red flavor
will not be disappointed by the first record, some
really crisp cuts. But if you like more raw gritty
rawk, previously unreleased “Split Screen” and
“Death Process” await you. If the proposed Adrian
Borland documentary gets off the ground, I sure
hope they cover this “Layer” to him (and accent
the impact of Bailey on it!). -Thurston Hunger

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