Luke Haines: British Nuclear Bunkers – album review
Luke Haines – British Nuclear Bunkers (Cherry Red)
Out October 15th
Luke Haines continues to plough his own furrow on British Nuclear Bunkers. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews.
The former Auteurs frontman is more prolific than ever. After putting a psychedelic trilogy of albums on varied subjects (British catchers, Alan Vega and… badgers), he managed to put out 3 projects in 2015. The micro-opera Adventures in Dementia (played in full at a gig at The Islington Assembly Halls) saw him collaborating with artist Scott King on a story involving a Mark E Smith impersonator, caravan holidays, and British fascist punks. He then put out 75 individual recordings of the same album entitled “RAVING” on his own Outsider Music imprint and he’s now back with a new solo album on Cherry Red entitled British Nuclear Bunkers on which he forgoes guitars completely, sticking to drum machines and analogue synthesizers. The album is for the biggest part without vocals and can be quite a trying listening. It gives you the impression of being trapped in the soundtrack of a 70’s snuff movie shot in the basement of an East German tower block. However by Haines standards nothing is out of reach, after all he put out a concept album about the Baader Meinhof gang at the height of Britpop. Having seen him answer some questions after a screening of “The Art Will Save The World” documentary, he warned his audience not to try find too much meaning into his work describing his creative process as “making up stuff”. Inspired by the Camden Borough Control Bunker, the record is a surprisingly good and cohesive piece of work that manages to create a mood of its own. Reviews on the album have talked about melody taking a second place to moods but that’s not entirely right as certain pieces definitely retain Haines’s melodiousness (a component of his work that often gets shadowed by the quality of his lyrics), “Test Card Forever” being the prime example. It is not the authors first foray into instrumental music as he had already include some in his soundtrack for the movie “Christine Malry’s Own Double Entry”, the track entitles “Alchemy” having much in common with the music on “British Nuclear Bunkers”. Now the bets are open on what will be the next project of the bard of Kentish Town…
All words by Craig Chaligne. More from Craig can be found at his Author Archive.