13 Track, LP (2007, Siberia)
Related: Midnight Juggernauts.
Listening to Dystopia, the outstanding debut set from Melbourne’s Midnight Juggernauts, may break a few listening habits you’ve long held true. For a start, it comes with an intro piece that could be an outtake to the Blakes’s 7 score: space symphonies are an enduring motif on the album, linking the contemporary beats to the full spectrum of prog shadings that the group casually but carefully integrate. You may have ducked keyboard pomp until now, but the duo makes it work as a rich texture that offsets their industry. To put it another way, Air’s effort’s to channel Rick Wakeman have been shot down by this disc.
From the relentless thump of ‘Ending of an Era’ onwards, Dystopia is joyous but never facile. It surges but doesn’t always smile, taking in all kinds of astral tweaks: late 70s Bowie, Krautrock and Giorgio Moroder at his iciest. The lyrics – per the album’s title – reflect on endings and collapse, but the tunes serve only to build in scale. ‘Worlds Converged’ is melancholic electronica, while ‘Road to Recovery’ remains a thrilling Daft Punk gambit. Quite when two mates from Melbourne who used to play the odd gig and had christened themselves after various dictators became the country’s leading electronic act is unclear, but that title is more than earned by the breadth and sheer impressiveness of this collection. And if it sounds like it exists in a galaxy far, far away, then zero in on the brilliant ‘Into The Galaxy’. Just when it sounds like it’s gone overboard with the martial strutting, there’s a rock & roll refrain to bring it back home: “G-L-O-R-I-A”. Amen.
by Craig Mathieson