Pendulum - In Silico
Review by Jack Foley
PENDULUM were hailed as a groundbreaking crossover dance band following the release of their debut LP Hold Your Colour. Their sophomore effort In Silico sees them moving forward but with only marginal success.
The main problem with their fusion of pounding drum ‘n’ bass beats and aggressive rock is that it still sounds dated – and not really deliberately so. Acts such as Prodigy and Apollo 440 immediately spring to mind, albeit with a greater emphasis placed on lyrics than normal.
The drum ‘n’ bass sound is also a little too one-note, for me, quickly becoming tiresome. Whenever the album places the d’n‘b to the fore, I tended to lose interest.
Album opener Showdown gets things off to an inauspicious start. Immediately striking is the presence of vocals, with producer/keyboardist Rob Swire performing the duties for the first time (with producer/bassist Gareth McGrillen providing backing). But as soon as the unrelenting drum ‘n’ bass kicks in, it’s a pretty deafening effort.
Different borrows from Prodigy early on, its beats reminiscent of Firestarter, although the vocals are more mellow and sung rather than shouted. It’s bearable. While Propane Nightmares wastes its early Mariachi intro by dropping the drum ‘n’ bass too early. It works well for about a minute, and then becomes a complete turn-off.
Tracks like Visions and Mutiny just pound away at both your ear drums and your patience. They mark the album at its worst.
There are brief moments, when this Australian outfit (based in the UK) seem to suggest they have more in their armoury. 9,000 Miles benefits from stripping things back, exercising some restraint and dropping an almost folksy middle section into the mix that’s the closest thing to chillout on the LP.
And The Tempest boasts an epic sensibility that hints at what they could be capable of if they continue to mature and refine their wilder tendencies.
For now, though, it’s a pretty tedious listen enlivened by only the odd good moment.
Download picks: 9,000 Miles, The Other Side, The Tempest