Four UK magazines have reviewed the new Interplay album this week . . .
‘Meeting of synth-fetishists is an unlikely triumph . . . When 58-year-old Britronica pioneer John Foxx hooked up with Benge, an ambient experimentalist whose debut album ‘documents the development of synthesizers between 1968 and 1988’, no-one was inclined to alert Radio 1 playlist compilers. Yet the result is an unexpected throwback to the pop noir of Foxx’s 1980 solo debut Metamatic. The drill-like groove of Shatterproof and the industrial stomp of Catwalk sound strangely contemporary in an age when robot vocals are ubiquitous and pop’s finest are once again leaving their guitars at the door to the Top 40. But it’s no mere nostalgia exercise. The album echoes four decades of avant-pop, from shimmering Kraftwerkian motifs to The Knife’s danse macabre. ‘I am the link in a neon chain, from the New York Times to the desert rain,’ claims The Running Man, and whatever he’s on about, only a killjoy would argue.’
‘Synth pioneer and friend launch analogue attack . . . Techno-pop eminence grise Foxx played a thrilling show at London’s Roundhouse last June using all-analogue technology. Interplay, a collaboration with vintage gear specialist Benge, sees him continuing the retro-futurist experiment. The approach is enigmatic but song-based, and by turns it evokes early incarnations of Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Roxy Music; there’s poised intrigue in the slinky Watching A Building On Fire, while the static atmospheres of A Falling Star sees Foxx sonorously addressing the ambivalent phenomenon of fame.’
3/5 Q MAGAZINE
‘John Foxx, the man behind the early, great version of Ultravox! has enjoyed a long solo career, from the Ballardian pop of the ’80s to his more recent video installation pieces. The Maths are an analogue-keen synth band of modern times. Together they make a forceful, stripped-down music that, on songs like The Running Man and Evergreen, sounds as new as its old, and as imaginative as it is familiar.’
‘John Foxx, joined here by vintage synth aficionado Benge, is clearly on form. Their effective pop has an effortless feel, sounding like recording was lots of fun: opener Shatterproof manages to be simultaneously unnerving and theatrically camp. In keeping with the current vogue for analogue electronics, the danger of sounding like revivalists was a risk. No problem here though – the effect is fresh and powerful, but never grating on the ears like much digital production. Tracks move from glistening-crisp, growling-fierce to tender – the latter mood captured by the melancholic beauty of A Falling Star and The Good Shadow.’