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leila - U&I
Leila veers into spikier, punkishly technoid wave styles on her 4th album, ably assisted by vocals from Mt. Sims. Compared with it's predecessor 'Blood, Looms & Blooms', with 'U&I' the mood is more urgent, dysphoric, a fact emphasised by the prodding coldwave rhythms and abrasive synth arpeggios which flesh it out, while Mt. Sims' electronically detached vocals lend a steely sense of late night soul. From cold, clangourous opener 'Of One', the dry, frictional EBM rhythms of 'Activate I' perfectly manifest her darker intentions, before Mt. Sims makes the first of six crucial appearances on the mechanized electro-trance-pop jolt 'All Of This'. He continues to lend a cool glaze to the blistering Technowave pulses of 'Welcome To Your Life', yet makes a very different impact with almost operatic performance to the chamber-ambient space of 'In Consideration', and comes across like a queer, jittery Bruce Gilbert on the Dome-like '(Disappointed Cloud) Anyway', or Alec Empire on the manic 'Colony Collapse Disorder'. But while he's undoubtedly impressive, it's Leila's kinetic propulsions and leather-gloved grasp of icy electronic mood and stylishly raw productions which are the biggest attraction, leaving her mark with one of the strongest contributions to the current Industrial/Wave resurgence. Fans of everything from Staccato Du Mal to HTRK should be checking this.