Plaid, Reachy Prints

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 05.19.14 in Reviews
Programmed entirely for headphones consumption — not a complaint

Plaid’s divorce from the dancefloor appears to be complete. Where their last offering, 2011′s Scintilli, at least carried one pulsing floor-filler in “Unbank,” the cryptically titled Reachy Prints, their seventh album, appears programmed entirely for headphones consumption. This is not a complaint: Andy Turner and Ed Handley’s latest electronic compositions are sharp and engaging enough to compensate for their early-middle-age retirement from the clubbing world. Aside from a website that allows users to manipulate the video for the single “Tether,” nor is there much of the techno-gimmickry that has marked recent albums: instead, the pair concentrate on serving up superior, rarefied examples of the genre that appears unable to shake off the description “intelligent dance music” (even if Plaid are no longer moving our feet). The cooing synths and chimes of opening track “OH” are delicate and pretty; “Slam” thrums and burbles in a manner heavily reminiscent of Jean Michel Jarre; “Ropen” is all ominous bleeps, sinister echoes and digital nervous twitches; the labyrinthine and portentously cinematic “Martin Lunaire” implies that Plaid’s future may lie in film soundtracks, yet is also too alluring and attention-grabbing to be mere incidental music. Reachy Prints has a lot going on, and it is all brilliantly conceptualized and immaculately turned.