Release Date: Jan 19, 2015
Record label: PIAS
Released in 2012, Cardiff-based duo Man Without Country’s promising if uneven debut album Foe received some strong reviews and established them as ones to watch in the future. An accomplished blend of winsome shoegaze and pulsating, club-friendly synthesisers, produced by former Sigur Rós collaborator Ken Thomas, it spawned two excellent singles in Puppets and especially King Complex, which opened with a wonderfully woozy early Velvet Underground vibe before surging skywards with great waves of blissful electronica. A sustained period of touring followed, including support dates with kindred spirits M83 and I Break Horses and remixing the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Moby (remember him?), but now Ryan James and Tomas Greenhalf are back with their second record, the forebodingly titled Maximum Entropy.
Don't let the name deceive you. Man Without Country operate under a strict set of laws, codes and rules. The Welsh pair stalk a very specific terrain, one characterised by near-glacial tones. Light is but a rare glimmer on a horizon bathed in pronounced gloom. You may well argue that this is the ….
The huge success of indie crossover acts like M83 and Passion Pit naturally led to a wave of moody electronica and synth-pop that has lasted the past few years. These electronic artists usually fall into one of two camps: dark and brooding or giddy and sugary. Occasionally one will come along that nicely blends the two (looking at you, CHVRCHES), but that seems to be a tough line to walk.
Keep your hands free while listening to Maximum Entropy—you’re going to need them to stop your eyes from rolling right out of your head and across the floor. Might want to keep your ears stuffed, too, just to be safe. That may seem counter-intuitive, considering this is ostensibly music, but then listening to Maximum Entropy in hopes of experiencing pleasure is what you’d call counter-intuitive.
Since the release of their well received 2012 debut, Foe, Welsh duo Man Without Country have quickly gained a reputation as a go to act for those wanting a dash of electronic scuzz applied to their tracks. Remixes for the likes of Interpol, M83, Miike Snow, alongside vocalist Ryan James’s guest spot on “Sordid Affair” from Royksopp’s The Inevitable End album of last year has resulted in a much more assured act than the one on show on their debut. Maximum Entrophy hardly has them re-inventing their sound, however the tweaks to their approach results in a much more consistent long player this time round.