It was released last November on CD and Vinyl, so it’s not exactly a new release, but it’s about to see a digital unleashing and it’s was on our playlist toward the end of 2012, so let’s have a little revisit with Kill Your Friends, the début solo album from one of our favourite artists of all time, Douglas J. McCarthy. Doug is, of course, one half of the legendary Nitzer Ebb, of whom we have been fans since we were crazy teens, having first seen them live in 1991. It’s not unconceivable to say that in some mirror universe where we didn’t discover Nitzer Ebb through Bong, the official Depeche Mode fanzine, that electronic rumors, the website, the record label, might not exist. They were, particularly the Showtime and Ebbhead albums, a massive influence.
That said, Douglas’ Kill Your Friends is actually a more satisfying record than Nitzer Ebb’s 2012 comeback album, Industrial Complex. Where Industrial Complex seems to be pandering to the expectations of black clad, stomping fans (something that Nitzer Ebb had never done, just look at Big Hit), Kill Your Friends feels like a much more personal and authentic affair. From the album’s opener, Death Is King, the album deliver what I would have like to hear from Nitzer Ebb, not trying to be Nitzer-Ebb-by-numbers, but producing something with real passion, and musically, making EBM for grown ups. Take The Last Time, one of the albums standouts. Fresh beats and shimmering stabs are paired with the expected synth growl allow McCarthy’s voice, probably one of the most recognisable in electronic music, to shine. And it’s his voice, the Essex-Americana drawl that made Nitzer Ebb so special, that ties the record together. Waxing lyrical on his favourite topics, control, religion, dysfunctional relationships, freedom, Douglas appears as a introspective co-pilot on a road trip through the seedy backstreets of electronic music. Backstreets that lead you through myriad influenced, from the Dubbed-out Evil Love to the Deep Acid House of Taken. Of course, the jackhammer EBM still rears it’s head in the form of All Kinds Of Wrong and Move On, both classic EBB, but on the whole Kill Your Friends is an album for everyone who grew up with, but grew out of, EBM. If you love Nitzer Ebb, but really can’t be bothered with distorted kick drums, arpeggios and shouting anymore then this is definitely the album for you.
♫ Douglas J. McCarthy – The Last Time
♫ Douglas J. McCarthy – Nothing After This
♫ Douglas J. McCarthy – Death Is King
♫ Douglas J. McCarthy – Taken
Douglas J. McCarthy’s Kill Your Friends is out now on CD and Vinyl and released digitally 18th February.
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