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Album Review

A semi-distillation of the band's series of Club Mix singles from the previous year, the first part of the formal 4AD single release of "Believe" mostly concentrates on versions of other tracks. Besides the monstrous dark groove of the brilliant title track, three other songs appear. "Oh," appearing in its full-length version, is pure lounge revivalism of the best kind, not least because instead of simply re-creating it, the band aims at their own synthesis, low, almost whispered vocals snaking among the rhythms, sampled directly from Arthur Lyman. "Cold Breath '79 (Craze)" takes a more jazz-funk approach, but with the same careful balance between warmth and cold delivery that typifies the group's work, chillingly seductive. "Ghetto Belief" is the one actual remix of "Believe" that appears, taking some of the lyrics and putting in a new bassline and breakbeat to align the song more directly with hip-hop, though again with a strange, alien atmosphere.


Formed: 1995 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As a quirky, several-member co-ed band from Reykjavik, Iceland, GusGus were almost bound to inspire comparisons to the Sugarcubes, though a mid-'90s arrival caused the group to inherit influences from contemporary club music as well as trip-hop, rather than the post-punk lunacy that inspired the Sugarcubes during the late '80s. Associations with a pair of the hippest independent labels -- first England's 4AD, and then Germany's Kompakt -- powered the group's sustained profile from the late '90s through...
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Believe, GusGus
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