Starting an album review of a band which, up until this point, you knew nothing about, is an interesting thing to undertake. You go into it without any preconceptions, any detailed back story and knowing that anything could greet you on the other side. Often you are met with the familiar and the predictable, something that is pretty much a new take on something you have not only heard before but heard many times already that week. But then there are albums such as Gonetcha’s Mission and you remember that this plunge into the unknown and the unexpected, and the occasional gems it rewards you with, is why you are not earning better money writing about what Dave Grohl’s favourite sandwich is, or what percentage of plastic Nicky Minaj is built from.
If someone like Nick Cave best typifies the dark, sweeping and majestic end point of the western blues derived musical experiment; Gonetcha is the flip side of that coin. Mission comes from a younger, angst ridden and intense place, one that has evolved out of the possibilities afforded by more recent technologies and more likely to tip its hat to Krautrock pioneers and New Romantic non-conformists than the more traditional canon.
Opening salvo Dawn Beat kicks off with some squalling guitars and brooding, industrial backgrounds but the album quickly settles down into a more electro alt-pop vibe. Rockist guitar moves are used to great effect to create the surface detail, meandering riffs and some wonderfully dexterous motifs, but this second album from them pulses with an electro-beat heart. The same heart which drove Kraftwerk’s motornik minimalism, the post-punk reinventions of The Blitz Kids the more commercial movement that they spawned and the alternative dance movements which have woven in and out of popular culture ever since.
Even songs such as Time Zone which seems at first listen to run along more regular rock guitar lines, has something more mechanical going on below, something slightly less man made, more digital than analogue, more computer than human. Submarine Wreck is a strange blend of funk bass and sinister spoken word, demented and dangerous yet infectious and mesmerising and What You Stole wanders down some brooding garage rock pathways.
But it is this balancing act between man and machine which creates the wonderful friction that lies at the heart of the album, able to explore its alt-rock, foot on the monitor, classic stance but also dripping in gothic techno edge and dark dance grooves. If you think that Electronic Dance Music has found its level, that maybe it has nowhere left to go, Gonetcha is your next lesson. I guess that there are a number of bands pushing the electro envelope at the moment, but how many of them are able to juggle dystopian disco, electro-rock, future dance, hi-tech cinematic film score, progressive pop and doom-dance…often in the space of one track. Gonetcha is a band on a mission indeed.