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Beyond the Valley of the Proles

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Album Review

David Thrussell and David Bourke are back with yet another musical assault on international capitalism. The targets of Thrussell's sour, strident lyrics and of Chris Woods' photorealist cover paintings are the same old fish in the same old barrels (businessmen, Nike, both George Bushes, corporations in general, etc.), and about halfway through the album one does start to wonder, given Thrussell's adamant stance in favor of independent thought and the questioning of dominant paradigms, why his own political sentiments are so very predictable. But the music is something else entirely, and its skillful combination of surface attractiveness and deep complexity makes it easy to overlook the equally deep political banality of the lyrics. Thrussell intones his lyrics in the sort of funereal basso that fans of Swans and Nick Cave live for, but the accompaniment is much more interesting: it draws equally on spaghetti western soundtracks (check out the juxtaposition of acoustic guitar and bleepy synthesizer on "Bad Planet," not to mention the twang-fest that is "Justified Homicide"), glitchy drum'n'bass ("Fruits"), and cabaret ("Welcome to Adelaide"), and often mixes those influences together, creating a brightly colored pastiche that draws the best elements from all of them and, at its best, results in music that is both challenging and immediately enjoyable. If the lyrics shared a little bit of that complexity and unpredictability, this would be a great album — as it is, it's merely a very good one.


Formed: 1988

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Australian industrial trio Snog formed in Australia in 1988 when DJ and art student David Thrussell met up with Julia and Tim, though the three were into vastly different forms of music (respectively, electronic body music, ambient and synth-pop). Snog began recording in 1990; after failing to find any interested labels, though, the group traveled to Germany and were soon signed to Machinery Records. By 1992, Snog had recorded a left-field dancefloor hit, "Corporate Slave," and released their...
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Beyond the Valley of the Proles, Snog
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