February 14, 2011 - Post Modern/Moving Units
Moving Units have been around since 2001, which means that they’ve officially outlasted every overhyped trend of the last decade—from dark post-punk and retro synthpop to indie-dance and hipster disco. While the trio reference all these genres in their music, they have survived these fads by always leaving fans wanting more—the new Tension War EP is their first substantial studio recording since 2007’s Hexes For Exes—and by deftly combining stylish music with substantial songwriting.
Waris no exception. “Until She Says” is moody synthglam in the vein of David Bowie’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), while space-alien keyboards and rubber-band basslines zoom through “Liquid X.” The EP’s most debauched moments are just as killer: “Paris, New Mexico” sounds like the Gossip rolling around in the dirt, while “Pink Redemption” is a disco-fied version of Exes’ “Pink Thoughts.” While the original has more rock ’n’ roll bite, this version’s falsetto vocals, rolling motorik rhythms and loopy sound effects are addicting.
This spirit of adventure extends to the two remixes of “Until She Says.” The highly enjoyable re-do by We Are Enfant Terrible, a French trio fond of 8-bit effects, is chirpy and cartoonish. A seven-minute Spirituals remix, in contrast, is abstract and ominous. Skittering rhythmic clucks, shattered hi-hat sounds, cut-up gibberish vocals and analog synth drone create chaos underneath a post-punk guitar melody. The effect is somewhere between radical free jazz, ice falling off a roof and someone scanning across a radio dial.
These last two songs are a welcome addition: Although War reinforces that Moving Units are fantastic at what they do, it’s nice to hear the band’s music reinterpreted in different ways. In the end, however, it’s a testament to the group’s talent that the EP’s radical diversity never sounds forced or gimmicky.