Passarella Death Squad Passarella Death Squad


Passarella Death Squad Passarella Death SquadPassarella Death Squad

6.8 / 10

Passarella Death Squad  Passarella Death Squad


Passarella Death Squad is the soundtrack I expect to hear when entering a dark club where they ask you for a secret password before the heavy velvet curtain is opened. Like Club Silencio in “Mulholland Drive”, like the silent orgy of “Eyes Wide Shut” and its password Fidelio, like the Red Room you get to when you enter the ring of sycamore trees in “Twin Peaks”. A dry soundtrack, vibrant, twisted, mysterious, stern and, above all, sexual. The songs of “Passarella Death Squad”, debut album of the British trio with the same name, are lean and ooze sex through the French accent of Emilie Albisser, the vocalist of the threesome, which is completed by Danny Broddle and Kingsley Gratrick. The songs of “Passarella Death Squad” are skeletal, minimalist. An electronic, narcotic and “dronic” cabaret, constructed over layers and layers of sounds at 75 BPM. The bass is powerful and humming and Emilie’s voice is cabaret-esque, a la Marlene Dietrich: impressive, crude and sharp. It’s perfect for mixing –James Holden and Len Faki have already done so– and her mantras keep echoing in the mind of the clubber. It’s music that smells of caging and leather and it has a dress code: black. Literally: Passarella Death Squad are designers and their clothing collections are overwhelming in their monolithic blackness, the Spartan simplicity of the designs and the perfect Japanese cloth they are made with.

The problem of this debut –following the EP “Ima / Blackout” and 12”s “Painted Yellow, Painted Black” and “Those Are Sirens”, also produced by Death In Vegas’ Tim Holmes– is, precisely, that everything seems too aesthetic. Not only the design –apart from the textile division, the sleeve art is done by M/M, the latest mega cool graphic designers from Paris– but also because of the structure of the record: it hard to differentiate the ten tracks on it and it ends up sounding like it’s entered an eternal loop. Their music comes recommended by the likes of Tiga, Chloé and Trevor Jackson –I leave it to everyone individually to decide what the merits of that are– and even their supposed influences are too “perfect”: The Velvet Underground, PiL, LFO and Cocteau Twins. There’s an unnecessary aesthetic twist in Passarella Death Squad that leaves an inevitable feeling of emptiness after listening to their gothic shoegaze ambient spoken word concept, and it makes you think that maybe the best place to hear it is a way too expensive shop stocked with few clothes from any cool city. The best thing on the record is that certain industrial flavour that appears to be on the verge of exploding into a marvellous infernal noise. The worst thing is that that never happens.

Marta Hurtado de Mendoza

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