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The Legendary post-punk / goth band Sex Gang Children have returned with a new album, "OLIGARCH", released officially digitally on the 24th of April 2021, with the CD format released on their own Liberation London label. This is the bands first offering since their 2013 album "Viva Vigilante!". On this recording, founder and frontman Andi Sex Gang is joined by original drummer Rob Stroud, John Rigby (bass), and Jerome Alexandre (guitar). According to the bands manifesto, Oligarch is where the ghosts of Orwell and Huxley come together in this dark vision of our dystopian world. True to their uncompromising style and spirit, Sex Gang Children have released an album providing an audio foray into the dark times thrust upon us. “Take a break from the nanny state. Be on the outside looking in. Lopsided global monopolies and top-heavy capitalist philosophies do not make sense. Voice a challenge to those that would keep you down. Battle the spectre of our times - the Oligarch”. The powerful cover photo is work of photographer/artist Bari Goddard.

 First track is "Dead Peasants", a dark piece featuring Andi’s dark poetry with a spoken word approach, giving it a creepy and sinister feel. Next is "Cannibal Lives", a largely guitar piece, containing some really great vintage guitar styles reminiscent of very early post-punk. Things start to kick in on "Masquerade" with the drums taking a more rhythmic tempo, with the razor-sharp guitar riffs spilling throughout. In the same vein we have "Bang!" a great example of their original post-punk style, so very authentic sounding. The only difference to their early dynamic works is the more subtle drumming compared to tribal thumping from that era. Something that makes the tracks sound fresher and more modern. The atmospheric "Seraphim Fall" flows gracefully over a melodic but hypnotic bassline.

 As they usually do on all their releases, "Asia Divine" has that eastern element joint together with glam rock. While on "Puritan Now", things couldn’t get more post-punk, but with a darker more claustrophobic vibe. In similar style we have "The Gorgon & The Sow", a song that thumps and stabs, giving it a nocturnal feel. Then we have a change in scenery with the acoustic "Berlin Kiss". A song that was known to me, since it has been played live for many years now. "Death Mask Mussolini" that follows, was the first single from the album and is a killer track! An instant danceable classic! It is a remake, originally recorded by Dirty Roseanne (an Andi and Piero Balleggi collaboration) back in 2009 and then also with a different version on Andi’s 2011 solo album "The Devil's Cabaret". The album ends with "Barbarossa Revisited", originally on their third 1993 album "Medea". Here they have transformed it completely, a much slower take, making it sound more like a cursed southern blues song, something you would expect to hear from The Birthday Party, but with Andi’s characteristic voice and storytelling singing style. The whole album is grower, the more you listen to it the more it gets addictive.

 The CD version also features 3 bonus tracks. You will find three different remixes of the single "Death Mask Mussolini". The "Cutter & Bone - Dominic Hawken Remix", "MIlitia Babe - Kitty Lectro Remix" and "Mouth Of Hell - MGT Remix" by guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission, Peter Murphy).

 

Review by Nick Drivas

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