BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
After a spate of recent releases that showed him diversifying his palette even further, Todd creates an unpredictable follow-up to his forays into edgy rock, fearsome blues and radically redefined versions of seminal songs produced for others. With State, he demonstrates why he’s been tagged as a musical chameleon, revisiting the synthesized setups and exotic experimentation that defined his work with Utopia and later made their way into individual outings like Individualist and Nearly Human.
The ominous opener, aptly titled “Imagination,” finds him fearlessly admitting “I am high… that’s what I tell myself,” and given the frenzied effects that characterize this track as well as later entries such as “Serious” and “In My Mouth,” any hint of psychedelic suggestion is easily explained. Propelled by a techno undertow and electronica additives better suited to the likes of Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Berlin-era Bowie, this material is far removed from the relentless rockers and sublime ballads Todd was known for early on. Only “Ping Me” finds him demonstrating his trademark wail, and a real willingness to keep his melodic instincts intact.
Those that deem this effort too weird or erratic are best advised to consider the deluxe edition with its live bonus disc recorded with the Metropole Orchestra at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Paying a revisit to several classic tracks, it offers ample reassurance that regardless of how he diverges, there’s always the comfort of those earlier endeavors.
DOWNLOAD: “Imagination,” “Ping Me,” “On My Mouth”