G20, Sonic Cannons; a review

Sarah Werkmeister

G20, Sonic Cannons Where: Your local army disposal store Release date: November 2014 Price: A retailer-optional co-payment of $5 ★★★☆☆ G20’s latest concept album, Sonic Cannons, is full of bangers. Part homage to the sonic warfare deployed in WWI, part instant Ibiza dance classic, Sonic Cannons is also a poignant meditation on a political sphere embedded in neoliberal capitalism. G20’s influences, as wide and varied as Mozart’s Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart) and accelerationist philosophy--sees the band moving towards a neu-techno sound rather than building on the death metal overtones of their previous album. The shift from metal to a Kraftwerk-ish sound in tone proves G20 can adapt to the technoscape, pushing the envelope in terms of what it means to be a band in this day and age. Undergirded by an omnipresent, subaudible bass line, the vocal range surpasses that of soprano-spinster Robert Plant, the falsetto of a high-onhelium Morrissey, and both the pitch and timbre of Shellac’s 1000 Hurts. But the kids; how they will dance to this blessed 149dB mess? Compared to their live sound, which often causes people to defecate freely and any animals in the vicinity to act as though they’ve downed too much meow-meow, the recording takes it down a notch, producing a repetitive hard-house chillwave. Punters, typically dressed in police uniforms as though this were some sort of candy-rave from mid-nineties Kreuzberg, will revel in the streets from the first note of the album’s deployment. While some critics have argued that, with Sonic Cannons, G20 has taken too many of its cues from Einstürzende Neubauten’s latest release, Lament (a musical exploration of singer Blixa Bargeld’s belief that the First World War never ended), the album injects a less serious vibe into the [excuse the pun] canon. The high-pitched howling of tracks one through twelve induce a childlike euphoria, both non-sensory and oversensory at once. Though the sonic youth of yesteryear may have graduated, but G20 take it that one step further to become the ultrasonic youth.G20 have graduated to become the ultrasonic youth.

Sarah Werkmeister is the author of 'Unfunny Jokes and How To Make Them'. She's still looking for a publisher. When not spending time writing about art, producing radio and helping out at Three Thousand, she's thinking about potential karaoke songs.

(10/11/14 #55)