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4 out of 10
If not for his varied career inbetween I would suggest that John Foxx had skipped over the past twenty years. ’Destination / September Town’ is so nearly indistinguishable from Foxx’s own early solo work that initially I thought I had put on the wrong CD.
Warm yet eery analogue synths buzz in the background while Foxx mumbles over the top in his distinctive detached manner. ’Destination’ is more reminiscent of tracks such as ’Underpass’ (1980) as it is driven along by an almost danceable riff. In contrast ’September Town’ has a far more languid pace that barely stays the right side of comatose.
If it were not for the aforementioned twenty year time gap then this would be not problem. In his work with Ultravox and his own solo projects Foxx pushed the boundaries of what was possible with a still emerging musical technology. On ’Metamatic’ (1980) Foxx created a cold and brutal synthesised landscape but retained just enough pop hooks to make the collection accessible to a wide audience.
While the amber glasses of notalgia have taken the spiky edges off, the disappointment with ’Destination / September Town’ comes more from an oppertuntiy lost rather than the quality of the record. On paper John Foxx and The Maths is a promising equation. (Those looking to check out some interesting contemporary work with analogue synths should investigate The Maths in his other guise as Benge at www.myspace.com/twentysystems).
Synth pioneer + contemporary synth explorer (should) = interesting collaboration.
Alas it is not to be. Without the fiery, Punk, angst of youth the tracks leave the unfortunate impression of an exercise in recreating the sound of past glory rather than taking it in new directions.
1. Destination / September Town