This LP captures the band’s aggression in such caustic cuts as “Robot New York”, Revenge of the Black Regent (An EP of equal merit with X rated video) and “Metal Fingers in My Body” all of which feature conventional, even blues-based chord structures delightfully disrupted by furious synthesiser melodies. “Machine Is Bored With Love” is a lengthy, cinematic tear-jerker of a finale, replete with electronic choirs. Only after a full decade of rigidly repetitive digital dance music, have analog synths and Moogs undergone a renaissance.
Add N to (X) occasionally experiments with spacey melodies, but one should not confuse them with Air. Onstage the trio, backed by two drummers, take their considerable arsenal of analogue gear and treat it much as a punk band might – that is, as an enemy to be beaten into submission – while repeating basic grooves and rhythms with the sheer pathology of the Velvet Underground. Add N to (X)’s latest is far from a perfect album.
That’s partly because their sound is still best experienced live, but also because their music addresses humanity’s imperfect and antagonistic relationship with the machines we invent to do our work. Great music – whether classical, rock ‘n’ roll or electronic – should never be flawless. And Add N to (X), who work in all three genres and then some, are all the more exciting for recognizing this truth.