When Edison premiered the phonograph – the first machine to record sound – in 1877, he could have little handle over its revolutionising effect. Some 250 years later Edison’s precious invention has been prostituted just about every way possible – from the distorted squall of noise-guitars to the fluorescent, saccharine bleep of 2-bit electronica. Everyone’s had a go. But few bands out there seem to have much of a grasp on how take the chewed up results of fifty years of phonographic experimentation and create something genuinely cohesive.
This is where 1877 steps in. Pulsing with pneumatics and the ghost of Ian Curtis in Narcolepsy, or schizophrenically melodic in Conversations In A Cheap Room, 1877 is sonically shot with a thousand bites of musical nostalgia that coalesce in dark corners, in pools of thick aural gloom.
There’s enough of everything here – slices of synth and strange robotic whizzing alongside the fuzz of filthy distortion and clean, reverberating riffs – to remind us that we’ve been spat out the other side of the history of the phonograph, that what remains is to put the shards of what we’ve learned into place to reflect the post-phonographic whole, and deflect the comedown of a million sonic misadventures. Not many bands have the genuine vision for such a task. 1877 is one of the few that do.