Disco Inferno – The 5 EPs

January 01, 1970

(One Little Indian)




Deeply indebted to the Factory sound of the 1980s, Disco
Inferno took the post-punk of the Durutti Column and early New Order and
smeared it with samples and distortions. It’s no wonder bands such as MGMT, who
included a Disco Inferno track on their recent Late Night Tales mix, are fans and that Animal Collective are
oft-cited as a contemporary reference point. Originally from Essex, Disco
Inferno released three albums between 1991 and 1996, but they remained
under-the-radar, especially here in the States. After their admittedly
derivative debut In Debt, the trio of
guitarist / vocalist Ian Crause, bassist Paul Wilmott and drummer Phil Whatley
released a series of EPs leading up to and following 1994’s D.I. Go Pop, and those make up this
welcomed compilation.


Don’t expect a coherent listen here: the EP was a perfect
form for this experimental band to try out ideas, and this collection
oscillates wildly from heavy, grinding noise (“Lost In Fog” or “D.I Go Pop”–
which was not on the album of the same name and not at all pop) to meditative,
dense recitations that sound like precursors to the Arab Strap (“Summer’s Last
Sound” and “Scattered Showers”) to bright, arpeggiated guitar pop (“Love
Steeping Out,” “A Little Something”). Disco Inferno enjoyed undermining their
pop instincts with tape effects and abrupt shards of noise, most prominently on
1994’s “It’s A Kid’s World” EP, whose “Lust For Life”-sampling title track
sounds like the Beta Band on speed played on a faulty CD changer. It’s
fascinating stuff, but when Crause and company kept the samples subliminal,
they could construct a catchy tune, too. It’s the most straightforward tracks,
when they really do go pop or at least attempt their approximation of pop, that
sound like lost classics: the chiming “The Last Dance” and the extended version
“The Long Dance”; the echoing “Love Steeping Out”; the crescendoing “Second
Language.” From our distant vantage point, it’s not hard to hear Disco
Inferno’s precursors and successors embedded throughout The 5 EPs, but that doesn’t diminish the recognition of  D.I.’s own distinct identity or the pleasures
of discovery.


Dance,” “Second Language” STEVE KLINGE


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