Archive: Restriction

Diverse progtronica from the London collective.

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Archive certainly aren’t ones to hang about.

Landing just nine months after Axiom, the band’s dystopian audio-visual treat that merited a place at the Sundance Film Festival, Restriction shows no let up in work rate or quality control. If anything, it’s a better album, perhaps because of a concerted urgency that’s only been hinted at before. Core duo Darius Keeler and Dan Griffiths are adept at creating fidgety backdrops – a textural mesh largely informed by synths and percussion – that surge from abrasive to balletic and back again. Feel It could easily be an out‑take from Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs, while the use of four alternating singers (two blokes, two girls) only deepens the dynamic. There’s anguish aplenty in the likes of Ruination and Crushed, though perhaps the greatest moment is Kid Corner. A dark meditation on the subject of children with firearms, it’s all the more powerful for the slightly dispassionate nature of its female vocal. You’ll also find some wonderfully digressive prog, weird ballads and the kind of murky trip-hop that was once the preserve of Tricky. Archive remain criminally undervalued in their own country. That should end here.