Things have been busy for French duo GBxCL in the roughly six months since last we checked in on them; the techno-body crossover act have released singles and made numerous appearances on comps from labels including S H I S H I and Khoinix who are releasing their new three track EP Murus Strictus. Undoubtedly they’ve been spending a lot of that time working on their new material, as there’s a noticeable upgrade to their production and a shift in their approach, introducing more song-based dynamics to their compositions. Opener “Belt of Constraint” is built around a pretty straightforward EBM bassline, but avoids monotony by chopping it, replacing it and layering vocals and pads over top, its throbbing tempo becoming more present that its individually programmed notes. Middle track “Tepes” works a similar formula to good effect, but closer “Fork of the Heretic” is the standout: taking up a deliberate mid-tempo groove and tuned down voices as its big sonic markers, it takes a classic new beat structure and drapes it in spooky giallo-wave aesthetics, reminding us of recent work from Venom Vampires.
If you want to squint into the electro-EBM abyss for long enough, you could probably come up with some sort of very arcane connection which links Chicago’s Visceral Anatomy to Wingtips apart from the fact that both acts happen to share the exact same two members. But the more salient and immediate fact is that Hannah Avalon and Vincent Segretario are just as adept at dishing out ass-shaking modern EBM as they are at handling melodic, gothy darkwave. As on their debut release, Visceral Anatomy strike the right balances on their second EP: between melodic and rhythmic focus, and between just enough bright and modern polish to put their compositions in the best light, and the sort of roots, low-fi grime that suits the Cabs-ish pedigree of their sound. The acidic bubbles of “LA Psychic” are offset nicely by Avalon’s vocals, and the dark, subturfugal slink of “Isolate” feels of a piece with Spike Hellis. So much of the stuff of this kind, even the enjoyable stuff, skimps on the melody and immediacy, but there’s plenty of colour between the beats here.