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From the Double Gone Chapel

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Album Review

On From the Double Gone Chapel, their first album of new material in four years, Two Lone Swordsmen move forward by looking back at electronic punk, post-punk, and their forebears, including the work of Joy Division, the Normal, Suicide, Public Image Ltd., and Gary Numan. The album's dark, electronica-meets-rock aesthetic isn't strictly retro, however; it's shared by Death in Vegas, David Holmes, and the recent work by Primal Scream (whose classic Screamadelica was produced, of course, by Andy Weatherall). On paper, From the Double Gone Chapel's mix of live instrumentation and vocals — Weatherall sings and plays bass, Keith Tenniswood handles guitar duty, and a host of drummers backs them up — with their more usual modus operandi sounds like a bigger departure than it actually is. It's true that this album won't be mistaken for Tiny Reminders, but there are enough techno and electro underpinnings here (particularly on "The Valve," the album's moodiest, most overtly electronic track) to make it recognizably the work of Two Lone Swordsmen. More importantly, the duo apply the album's palette of raw, dense, and murky textures just as precisely as they've used clean and crisp sounds on their previous work. This precision makes tracks like "Formica Fuego" — which blends a heavy beat with stabs of guitar and slightly spooky synths — simmer instead of explode. A similar tension drives most of the album; when it works, as on the oddly poignant album closer "Driving With My Gears in Reverse (Only Makes You Move Further Away)" and "The Lurch," it really works, but when it doesn't, as on the inert dirge "Punches and Knives," it really doesn't. However, the occasional dips in energy make the album's high points, like the decadent "Faux" and lunging cover of the Gun Club's "Sex Beat," that much more vivid. Weatherall makes a pretty convincing debut as a singer, with a detached, monotone delivery that suits the aforementioned songs and "Sick When We Kiss" perfectly. As with the music, Weatherall's vocals get too monotonous occasionally, but the addition of Nina Walsh on the beautifully world-weary "The Taste of Our Flames" adds some much-needed variety. While not all of From the Double Gone Chapel's experiments succeed, enough of them do that it should please Two Lone Swordmen's more open-minded fans. Even if the sound they pursue here is just a detour, its seamless and creative fusion of rock and electronic idioms deserves respect.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After dissolving his Sabres of Paradise project and label, U.K. dance don Andrew Weatherall set up the tripartite Emissions label group and launched his latest, perhaps most prodigious musical venture, Two Lone Swordsmen. A collaboration with Emissions engineer Keith Tenniswood, 2LS was formed in early 1996. The group speaks the same language of warped, downtempo grooves as much previous Sabres work (particularly "Smokebelch" and "Wilmott"), but opts instead for a syntax of minimal electronics and...
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From the Double Gone Chapel, Two Lone Swordsmen
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