Collapse of personal communication becomes a melodic study – or rhapsody in black.
Dystopian vision has always been part of this group’s gloomy outlook yet it rarely shared its spectrum with times in such a spectacular manner as on their twelfth album – released on the verge of their twentieth anniversary and, thus, bound to be special. Still, celebratory brightness doesn’t belong on a record that dissects the deteriorating state of relationships in today’s world and finds musical approach to express the artists’ grief. So, although the eye of the beholder is dewed with tears, the tunes pouring out of “Dissolution” are strangely captivating and invariably hide a twist to keep focus firmly fixed on the dark subject matter.7
That’s why, emerging from a piano murk, “Not Naming Any Names” must outline a tentative menace in Bruce Soord’s deadpan delivery to set the listener on a trip which will logically land on the acoustic warmth of “Shed A Light” – but while a way out should appear much earlier, it takes “Threatening War” to get there, via dynamic, epic motions propelled with Gavin Harrison’s drums. There’s nervous march behind “Try As I Might” whose riff-ruffled throb is shaping a hymn to futility and perseverance before vocals soften to reveal reluctant surrender, and the same pull and push can be find further down the line in “White Mist” where David Torn’s six strings tear through the desolate pulse and sympathetic alienation at the number’s core.
“What is wrong?” asks the singer on the brink of unleashing a soaring guitar solo, and the answer to this may lie in the ensemble’s alt-rock aloofness – exploited by the genre’s epigones time after time, yet retaining appeal here – especially with “All That You’ve Got” adding lukewarm, new-wave anxiety to the mix, and another question – “This makes no sense to me: when did you lose control?” – wouldn’t dare to venture beyond rhetorical point. There’s also bluesy anguish in “Uncovering Your Tracks” which is intensifying tension to an almost unbearable degree, but “Far Below” seems to be raging and raving in vain, Jon Sykes’ bass fiercely puncturing its chthonic sheets of noise until the briefly strummed oscillation in “Pillar Of Salt” allows the willing to look back in anger… and dissolve without offering solution to the social issue the quartet worry about.
It’s a thought-provoking work anyway, so those who delve into it can stumble, if only by accident, upon right path. If they do, the album’s mission will be accomplished.