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Nature + Degree

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Album Review

Section 25 continued their 21st century return to activity with another strong album in Nature and Degree, proving that the success of Larry and Vin Cassidy on Part-Primitiv was no fluke. It's likely no surprise, either, that the musical model is the band's nervously aggressive mid-'80s heyday; hearing Larry's crisp, observational turns on songs like "Singularity" over brisk, classic electro arrangements still has the feeling of future shock, a new kind of roots music for older performers. Meantime, a more reflective guitar-led song like "Saddled with Something," with its string arrangement and understated tone, lets him explore a calm fragility with grace. Larry's daughter Bethany provides a bit of family continuity as well in the tragic absence of her deceased mother; her lead turns on "Remembrance" and "Forty Days" are more gently dreamy in comparison, but the songs add their own air of classic pop to the proceedings. (The break on the former song is a stellar example, with Vin's work achieving a lovely grace.) "Attachment," in comparison, shows a sprightlier side for her, but perhaps Larry outdoes even her with the breezy meta-pop confection "L'Arte du Math," with the opening line "I used to be artistic/But now I'm told I'm not" setting up a tale about mathematics as true beauty that's still loaded with an undercurrent of extremely dry, barbed humor. The album droops a bit towards the end, but even so, Section 25 thrives.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Blackpool, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '00s, '10s

Not as strong as some of their Factory Records labelmates — such as New Order, the Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio — Section 25 followed a similar course, providing a link between electronics-based new wave and the burgeoning indie dance movement of the mid- to late '80s. Formed in Blackpool in 1978 by brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy, Section 25 later added guitarist Paul Wiggin and a drummer who quit soon afterwards. With an early template similar to Joy Division's atmospheric...
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Nature + Degree, Section 25
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