Reviews Coreline Bone and Blood as Stone and Mud

Coreline

Bone and Blood as Stone and Mud

There's something very important one has to keep in mind when reviewing a Coreline album, or indeed merely when listening to it. And that is this:

The brain that gave birth to this is one fully capable of rickrolling an entire festival audience, in amongst a performance that also delivers a theater troupe performing in cardboard robot costumes. Tongue in cheek is the order of the day.

With that in mind, let's suspend our serious music review hat for a second. Coreline's debut album Please Keep Moving Forward was a mish-mash of styles both subtle and gloriously trashy. Almost eurodance-esque synth lines held into place by clattering beats and weaved through with a pseudo-IDM sense of disorder. It was certainly not for everyone, but it equally certainly didn't get the attention it deserved within the British alternative electronica scene.

It's therefore understandable that for the follow-up album, Bone and Blood as Stone and Mud, Chris Coreline has decided to try and mollify the chin-strokers with a more straight-laced mix of his earlier ingredients in a collection of songs that are simultaneously both more accomplished and less engaging than earlier material. Album opener "Coreline Builds Better Robots" is really the only track on the album to contain the infectious sense of what-the-hell that the debut release represented, having drafted in a school choir to sing the title line over the top of '80s synths and meaty shuffling percussion hits. The technical abilities behind the compositions are much more apparent this time round, discordant melodies and chaotic beats sliding over each other with a sci-fi frictionless ease.

Elsewhere the album hits a strong midsection, with the likes of "This is Industrial Baroque" and "This is Not a Love Song" taking Coreline's orchestral affectations to further extremes. While there's no particular point where the songs fail to make an impact, there's a definite sense of blending into the surroundings. In adopting many of the more stripped-back elements of the current scene, there's a danger that a unique identifier has been lost. There is one experimental misfire in album closer "The Middle," where beats and synthlines have been fused with singer-songwriter style acoustics and vocals. Strangely this actually pushes the strengths of Coreline to the fore, as the electronic elements of the song walk proudly head and shoulders above the pedestrian efforts of collaborator David Lawrie.

There's a likelihood that this iteration of Coreline could well find a much stronger following than with the more nascent, energetic and – let's face it – cheesy material that has previously been released. It's a decent hard electronic (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) release, but feels somewhat watered down for ease of listening.

6.9 / 10Matt T.
See also
Ah Cama-Sotz, Pow[D]Er Pussy
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6.9 / 10

6.9 / 10

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