Double Handsome Dragons - DHD

Owain Paciuszko 04/12/2010

Rating: 3/5

Atmospherically opening with cheesy synths, sci-fi bleeps and a voiceover straight out of a B-Movie trailer before turning to a moody rain-soaked ambience, there's a lot of expectation piled up in how Made By Devils will eventually sound, ultimately it transpires that it's an electro-rock slow-burner somewhere between Rob D and The Servant that builds towards occasional cacophonies of guitar freak outs and hammered pianos. A pretty tasty moody breakdown around the three minute mark aside, it's a bit of a disapointment after such a quirky, retro opening; though it does manage to do brooding and angsty in a way that would assure it a spot on the soundtrack to a new series of Angel or similar.

After a pretty nifty glitchy ending to the first track, there are strangely high-pitched yelped vocals that run throughout Wisbech & Other Such Galaxies which shift perceptions of this act closer to the likes of Enter Shikari. Moving from this barked vocal section into a laidback nu-metal-style sequence that gradually adds twinkling bells and Vangelis synths to the mix, it all comes to a climax with squawking guitars and then a sample of the Mysterons from Captain Scarlet which sets an ominous tone instantly dismissed by the erratic blips of Ronald Ray-gun; a somewhat Math-y tune that balances its 8-bit wibbles nicely against frenetic guitars. The real highlight comes with vocals yelling 'The martians are coming!' over grumbling bass sounds, followed by a drum-n-bass section that sends this track out on a high after a decent, if repetitive, start.

010110 is a floaty, jazzier number that glides along a sublime, slight guitar refrain with drums flailing with an easy-going sense of freedom that transmits itself out of the track beautifully, though the foray into more traditional rising rock lines is a bit of a shame and not the spine-tinglingly epic outburst it may be intended as. The tempo shift just around three minutes work better, with the drum stamping out an insistent beat as the melody remains cool and calm. Los Diablos Del Espacio works best in its synth heavy mid-sections, it has familiar patterns to other tracks aided by a listenable, repeated melody that carries the track through its duller phrases.

Using Charlie Chaplain's empassioned speech from The Great Dictator as a backdrop to great big guitar riffage on final track Are We Not The Future of This Nation? goes some way to aid it in its bid for epicness, and the processed percussion running alongside the drumming works reasonably well, but it's those moments where the guitars are given those grand stadium-sized licks that things wobble. After fuzzy samples there's a sombre synth coda that is a nice little send off to this record, which ultimately suggests that when not piling noise upon noise these folks can craft something pretty interesting, they just need to add a bit more variety to the body of their tunes.

A so-so mini-album that shows occasional sparks of truly interesting and exciting ideas interspersed with xeroxed arrangments that fail to ignite.