Archive: Axiom

A moody, modern triumph from the overlooked London band.

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Opening their account in the mid 90s, London collective Archive are widely revered across Europe but remain relatively obscure at home, despite inspiring cultish fervour among their disciples. 2012’s With Us Until You’re Dead was a sophisticated collection of emotive, progressive-leaning songs (it was the first album they bothered to release in the UK in a decade), but with themes of ‘despair and disconnection’, Axiom is a step up again.

From heartbreaking, string-laden ballad Distorted Angels, this continuous 40-minute piece delivers shattering atmosphere, shimmering textures and some big beats to boot.

Archive’s trip-hop DNA is still in evidence (the earnest Baptism, hypnotic Transmission Data Terminated), but Shiver shows they can be Anathema-catchy, and the title track’s pealing church bells add drama gravitas. Organic and electronic sounds fuse beautifully, with founder Darius Keeler joined by a host of guest vocalists, each adding nuance to the classy, earnest whole.

They’ve made a companion-piece film, debuting at the London Sundance Festival right about now. If it does the music justice, it’ll be an art-house triumph.