Boomkat Product Review:
Blackpool’s VHS Head adapts his freakish ferric electro sleaze to soundtrack an imaginary sci-fi set on the Fylde coast.
Raised on ‘80s video nasties and the sound of seafront arcade machines in the UK’s most beloved, if knackered, resort, VHS Head has made a virtue of his home town’s putative reputation since the ‘Video Club’ EP and via subsequent albums ‘Trademark Ribbon of Gold’ and ‘Persistence of Vision’. Comparable with the likes of Moon Wiring Club for a sense of bloody-minded, retrofuturist approach and results that speak to a certain sort of northern eccentricity and nous, his records are held in high acclaim by us and other freaks hailing to this region, not to mention far beyond, and ‘Phocus’, following the story of its titular protagonist, is arguably VHS Head’s magnus opus.
Racking up pop cultural nods to Cronenberg’s ‘Videodrome’, Max Headroom, Sir Patrick Moore-era Games Master, along with more personalised, osmotic absorption of Blackpool’s neon glow and incessant soundspshere, the album is densely turgid with possible reference points, but its the way that VHS Head makes sense of them (or messes them up) that matters. With little to no room to breathe in his data-rich arrangements, it’s a a seriously hallucinogenic and thrilling ride that summon all the sugar rush and booz-a-delic quease of a weekend jag in Blackpool’s underbelly during a fantasy period of the ‘80s that never quite existed, or only in Ade Blacow’s mind and the likes of Gescom.