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Warm Digits - Wireless World album review

In the grip of a third from the Northern electronica duo Warm Digits

Warm Digits - Wireless World album artwork

Much like Public Service Broadcasting, Warm Digits tend to examine the uneasy, often conflicted relationship between human progress and the stride of technology.

2013’s Interchange came with a film that looked back at the construction of Newcastle’s Metro system, inspired by 70s imagery from the Tyne & Wear archives. Wireless World involves itself with wider concerns, particularly the schism between industrial science and an increasingly precarious eco-political world. And heavy themes demand heavy tunes. Thus, Andrew Hodson and Steve Jefferis serve up punishing techno prog from analogue synths, rattling beats and noisy avant-guitar. There’s plenty of Neu! and Moroder in their throbby rhythms, not least on the outstanding End Times, with a falsetto vocal turn from longtime ally Peter Brewis of Field Music, one of several guests here. The crisp motorik pop of Better Friction features Mia La Metta (aka Kathy Gray of Beards and Ygrec), Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell pops up on Growth Of Raindrops and the bright tones of Devon Sproule find a contrast in the dark disco of The Rumble And The Tremor. The apocalyptic Swallow The City, meanwhile, feels like a John Carpenter soundtrack to a disaster movie about a murderous tsunami.

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.