White Car White CarNo Better
HIPPOS IN TANKS (HIT002, 12”)
With this whole tendency to the dark in modern music, noticeable in the preoccupation with minimal wave and other traces of the old synth-pop of the early eighties by bands with a clearly revivalist character –from Cold Cave to Zola Jesus, each in their own particular dimension, the first more synthetic and the second more gothic–, here’s another new name that deserves attention. White Car come supported by one of the most fashionable small labels of these days –the Brooklyn-based Hippos In Tanks is where Laurel Halo, Gatekeeper and Games, Daniel Lopatin’s adult-pop group with hypnagogic tendencies, are all releasing their singles–, although in their eighties deviation there is nothing AOR or lyrical reverie. To the contrary, there’s a more visceral sound, analogue and violent, reminiscent of the German, Belgian and British bands from the dawn of EBM. As if they had crossed DAF and Nitzer Ebb, the two White Car members –Orion Martin and Elon Katz, the latter being the engineer of other new dark wave bands as well– beat on the electronic drums and keys, bite the mics with guttural voices and sometimes wander off towards some kind of Front 242-like proto-techno, or introduce white funk segments. It’s an interesting single, because it indicates up to what point a brand, helped by the suspicion of imminent hype, can support a band who on their own would have trouble getting out of the cassettes and 7” circuit –they already had another 12” earlier this year and it’s repercussion were virtually undetectable. But they’re worth keeping an eye out for, if only because of that Kraftwerkian “Spread Spit Slap” and it’s rhythmic rattle a la “Metal On Metal”: you never know when there will be another bomb in the vein of Cold Cave. It could be them.