by Kev Rowland
‘Reformat’ evolved from a collection of songs written by Luke Pajak and produced by his friend and long-suffering collaborator, Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, At the Gates, The Wildhearts, The Exploited, Evile, The Haunted, Lock Up, Defecation, Meathook Seed, The Berzerker, The Rotted, Space Ritual and many, many more). They were then joined by Jay Russell on drums and electronics and the result is this their debut album. I’ve been playing this album a great deal, and I am still at a loss as to how to describe it. The keyboard sounds are right out of the early Eighties, with strong guitars (sometimes), weird electronic noises (sometimes), a feeling of electro which is way more melodic than it should be (sometimes), and rock-based jazz drummer. Confused? I am, and I’m listening to it! I know, let’s go to their FB site and see how they describe it themselves “The sound has been compared to an obsolete games console recalling chiptunes sung by their factory siblings before they were separated and packaged for sale. Others have described it as the sound of a 56k modem dialing directly into their psyche. The album is also a soundtrack to a cross-media concept that features an interactive adventure inspired by 1980s sci-fi films.” Yes, that all makes sense… not!
I really have no idea what is going on, except that it is incredibly infectious, and when I am playing it I am taken to some sort of happy place and I am smiling (although not drooling, drooling is bad). It is an intriguing album, from the artwork through the different instrumentals, and while some songs could be termed as neo-prog, crossover prog or even electronic prog, one of the delights of this album is an apparent refusal to sit within any particular genre. What I do know is that it isn’t nearly as heavy as Russ Russell’s CV would suggest, but he does know how to generate interesting sounds. Definitely worth investigating.