Review: PNDC & housework – Secondhand Language

With last year’s sterling album ‘Fading Away’, PNDC provided a new source for cool European electronic music. It came from Predrag Nedic from Serbia and here he teams up again with the strangely monikered Greek vocalist/guitarist housework to produce another fine slab of icy electro/dance sounds.

As with ‘Fading Away’, the key strength of the record is the telepathy that seems to exist between Nedic and his remote colleague. In the manner of The The’s Matt Johnson, housework snarls with way through ‘30,000 Feet’; wrapping his tongue around lines such as “I can’t spell and I can barely read. And my flesh ain’t good for the piranhas to feed” with a high degree of self-contempt. The evil sounding ‘Animal Farm’ is dominated by a Peter Hook-like bassline whilst not even a pure-sounding contribution from guest singer ‘Shadowlike’ can disguise the menace beating at the heart of ‘Pilots’. All these tracks are riveting.

The second half to the record cannot quite sustain the momentum but still throws up occasional delights. Even when housework does lose his way with an ill-advised falsetto turn for ‘Lost Message’, Nedic resecues the situation with an addictive synth melody. There’s an experimental edge to ‘The Buzz’ which reminded me of early Wolfgang Press releases and ‘The Fix’ builds up impressive layers of tension. The only real disappointment is ‘Goodnight’ where rhythms fly off randomly as shadowlike narrates a bedtime story.

On the face of it, ‘Secondhand Language’ is Depeche Mode with all sense of emotion and harmonies removed but for the most part it’s actually a compelling record. housework expresses fear and anger in his voice, as he and PNDC throw up some terrific hooks with their respective skills on guitars and synths.

Web Sites:
PNDC MySpace
housework MySpace

Further Listening:
Colder, DK7, Circlesquare

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