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Burn Your Own Church

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Album Review

For those who recall Black Strobe's club hits, "Brenn Di Ega Kjerke," the title track (in Norwegian) of their album Burn Your Own Church, kicks off the set reassuringly. A propulsive rhythm boasting live bass and a ping-ponging synth set the stage, but suddenly live drums muscle in and then — ohmygod — rock guitar, and it's obvious that we're not in electro-land anymore. For starters, DJ Ivan Smagghe has left the building — however, not before contributing a slew of lyrics to the set. But with his absence, what was a duo (still fronted by vocalist/programmer Arnaud Rebotini) has now expanded to a rock quartet, albeit one with impressive electronic credentials. And the electronics remain crucial to Strobe's sound, even as the musicians expand Rebotini's stylistic repertoire. The cover of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" is proof positive of that, a stomping R&B monster, like Cream poured into a Delta swamp. "Blood Shot Eyes" is even more muscular, the rhythm pusillanimous, while rockets soar across the sky. In contrast, "Lady" and "Crave for Speed" are downbeat numbers, filled with moody atmospheres and hauntingly pretty keyboard melodies. Featuring an equally slow tempo, "Girl Next Door" is snail's-pace R&B cosseted by iridescent synths and an unnerving atmosphere. Elsewhere, the Strobes turn their lights toward darkwave dance, most spectacularly on "Last Club on Earth," a song that encompasses droney guitars, a post-punk feel, a glittering moody melody, and goth rock elements. Equally good is "Shining Bright Star," powered by angular, compulsive beats on the verses, then bursting forth into infectious Depeche Mode territory on the irrepressible chorus. "Not What I Need" has a more industrial feel and a darker goth aura, all wrapped around an anthemic chorus. Far removed from the Strobes' previous work, this Church pries open the stylistic doors, and the band revels in the possibilities. Crüxshadows is the obvious comparison, but Strobe are far more adventurous than them, an exhilarating blend of electronica, dark dance, new wave, industrial, and more.

Customer Reviews

Good music..

Great album, incomparable variety, and who doesn't love that? The whole album is worth it just for 'I'm a Man'. This song is almost TOO rock'n'roll its a killer!


Loved it buy it worth every penny


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

A collaboration between Parisians Arnaud Rebotini and Kill the DJ label head Ivan Smagghe, Black Strobe fuses together traces of acid techno, death disco, industrial, and neo-trance with their distinct sound. Both former employees of the Rough Trade dance section, the group released their debut recording on the third installment of the Sourcelab compilations in 1996 with the club anthem "Paris Acid City." The duo recorded several tracks that appeared on numerous compilations and released a succession...
Full Bio
Burn Your Own Church, Black Strobe
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