Gazelle Twin: Pastoral review – techno tormentor tramples tedium

Anti-Ghost Moon Ray

In 2000, the UK garage duo Oxide and Neutrino released Bound 4 Da Reload, a single that sampled the Casualty TV show theme. There are moments on the third album by Brighton’s Gazelle Twin that sound unflatteringly like Fever Ray remixing the “Is that your final answer?” music from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, adding leering melodrama to conventional ticking signifiers of peril. Often on Pastoral, Elizabeth Bernholz’s attempts to defamiliarise the horrors of contemporary British society – Brexit, poverty, xenophobia – through absurdity land squarely on the nose.

The poor are “kicked into the curb like empty Coke cans”; shrill and fractured voices hector that it was “much better in my day”. The admirably nasty production – turning the thumbscrews on Chicago footwork, battering-ram techno, operatic vocals and sylvan folk – means that not only is Bernholz preaching to the converted, she’s also preaching to an audience who pride themselves on their tolerance for enduring hostility.

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