(Photo by Mike Cooper)
THE SHAPE OF THINGS REVIEWS –
7/10 CLASSIC ROCK
Electronic pioneer shows how it’s done.
Named after an HG Wells novel, this album’s title omits the words ‘To Come’, possibly because John Foxx has been living in the future for decades.
Now, the former Ultravox! singer and an influence on all of electro pop, releases his second album with The Maths. And while it’s business as usual – retro synths, papery drum machines, haunted vocals – it’s also as good as ever. Foxx’s talent for melody and lyrics hasn’t left him, and songs like the almost folky ‘September Town’ and the stuttering waltz of ‘The Shadow Of His Former Self’ are in a direct line from ‘Europe After The Rain’ and ‘The Quiet Men’. He’s also as spooky as ever on instrumental opener ‘Spirus’ and the iron wispiness of ‘Invisible Ray’. Anyone tempted by recent electronic music and who wants to see it done by one of its originators would be well advised to nip by here.’
4/5 RECORD COLLECTOR
Foxx even plays guitar on one track!
These days John Foxx has so much lead in his pencil, there’s hardly any room for the wooden casing. We’ve lost track of how many LPs he’s delivered in the last five years, though we’ve heard them all – and there’s not a duffer among them.
It seems that Foxx has unfurled The Maths as a convenient banner under which he can deploy a revolving carousel of players with which to collaborate. On his latest, The Shape Of Things, Foxx shares compositional and recording duties with Ben Edwards, aka Benge – his collaborator on last year’s Interplay, and the man who celebrated vintage synths of all shapes and sizes on 2008’s Twenty Systems. Rather than build upon the electro-pop wonderment of the duo’s previous outing, there’s a more experimental edge here, though tracks such as ‘Rear-View Mirror’ and ‘September Town’ would boost Interplay‘s portfolio.
The light-and-shade nuances to instrumentals ‘Psytron’, ‘Modreno’, ‘Astoria’, ‘Invisible Ray’ and ‘Buddwing’, however, are utterly compelling electronic hymns. There’s an aroma of Bowie’s seminal Low at work here, especially on ‘Unrecognised’ which comes fuelled by techno bubbles, striking synth lines a mournful vocal invoking loss.
Another great LP from Foxx and, after Gary Numan’s recent foray into experimental electronica, we hope that a collaboration between the pair is on the cards.’