The Upshot: Cosmic psychedelia that never completely fades.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Like any good psych rock act, White Hills has evolved over the course of its existence. Stop Mute Defeat is no exception. The duo’s fifteenth LP adds droning synths, rhythms borrowed from motorik and industrial rock, and cracking drum machines in place of a human percussionist. Though he adds plenty of his trademark guitar spew, Dave W. sings in a near-monotone, with bassist Ego Sensation swooping in via detached coos. The boiling combination of organic psychedelia and impersonal electro-rock hearkens back to the initial explorations of electronica during the Reagan/Thatcher years, and leans more toward the harsh dreamscapes of Chrome and Cabaret Voltaire than the pop hooks of OMD and Human League. The stark, throbbing “Importance 101” contrasts with the acid-ically grungy “Overlord,” while the burbling synth popping title track varyies from the gothic rocker “A Trick of the Mind. “If…1…2” goes straight for overt Suicide worship, pushing the band further out into the hinterlands than they’ve ever been before. Even with all the synth weirdness, however, the songs still sound recognizably like White Hills. No matter how synthetic and mechanical things get, the stain of cosmic psychedelia never completely fades.
DOWNLOAD: “A Trick of the Mind,” “Overlord,” “If…1…2”