Back To Industry
Claus Larsen should need no introduction to anyone reading this site. Over the past twenty years, Larsen hasn’t just reinvigorated the project which helped to forge the entire genre of dark electro, but has also taken on countless side projects and covers records, all while remaining a constant and forthright voice of conscience in Our Thing. New Leaether Strip LP Back To Industry is presented very much in the direct, minimalist, and honest vein of Leaether Strip material released since the reactivation of the project in the mid ’00s after a near decade-long hiatus, but with some simple enough adjustments ends up calling back to classic releases to wonderful effect.
Much of Back To Industry‘s make-up will be familiar to anyone who’s closely tracked recent Leaether Strip albums – punchy beats and bass programming and un-distorted vocals in which Larsen speaks plainly about frustrations, desires, childhood fears make up much of the record. But it’s in the deft integration of synth leads and melodies that Back To Industry draws a clear link between the likes of Science For The Satanic Citizen and more recent records like Spæctator. The dead-simple synth leads of “Elevate Me” and “Mistaken For Pavement” complement the rhythmic punch of the tracks well, and also nod to Larsen’s yen for classic, stripped-down synthpop.
It’s impressive that a record so deceptively simple is able to act as a touchstone for so many other moments and records, but perhaps that’s just one of the benefits of a catalog as deep as Leaether Strip’s. The loping pace and straightforward harmonic pads of “Stigma” might owe something to the recent deep dive into Puppy covers taken by Larsen, but it also sounds of a piece with countless moments in the early LS catalog. Slow-burn highlight “Slaughter” has Larsen stripping down his groundbreaking symphonic dark electro arrangements and welding them to an elegant yet simple dancefloor arrangement.
Back To Industry is crammed to the gills, pushing the limits of a single CD at 79 minutes. But despite its length and references to numerous records, projects, and genres it retains a sense of unity and efficiency. The six minute tunes bop by just as smoothly at the three minute ones, simply because Claus doing classic Leaether Strip well is a treat. I don’t think it’s at all a stretch to put Back To Industry – along with the criminally overlooked Serenade For The Dead II – forward as the strongest Leaether Strip record of the millennium. Recommended.