Andrew Weatherall, The Bullet Catcher’s Apprentice

Simon Reynolds

By Simon Reynolds

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The astonishingly prolific Andy Weatherall has a more impressive track record producing or remixing other artists than generating original material. His output, via the collaborative outfits Sabres of Paradise and Two Lone Swordsmen, too often fell into the worthy/well-executed/"quite interesting, but…" category. The Bullet Catcher's Apprentice, however, is not only Weatherall's solo debut but his most enticing offering yet.

Legendary techno producer’s solo debut may just be his most enticing offering yet

“Feathers” sees him reclaiming his title of Original Neo-Postpunker (Weatherall's 2000 compilation Nine O'Clock Drop was ahead of the pack in exhuming the dance-rock sounds of the early '80s). Its naggingly hypnotic bass-drone and sublimely splintery guitar-riff match similar punk-funk efforts by LCD Soundsystem and Colder. “You Can't Do a Disco Without a Strat” is the missing link between the Cure and Sister Sledge (“Lost in a Forest,” maybe), its blend of slinky ‘n'shimmery and doomy ‘n'gloomy making you visualize an eyeliner misery-boy hand-jiving under a glitterball. The Gothick elektro stomp of “La Sirena” conjures a parallel universe where Rowland S. Howard left the Birthday Party and joined New Order. If the malevolent bass-growl recalls similar Goth-influenced dance tracks by Tiefschwarz and Kiki, the dub-wise echo-flickers cast you back to Weatherall's production of Primal Scream's “Higher Than the Sun.” The reverb unit gets wheeled out again for “Edie Eleven.” minimal house that leaves a glistening slipstream of after-images in its wake. Finally, London duo Repeat/Repeat transform “You Can't Do Disco” into an ominous and cavernous bass-pulse with no discernible relation to the ditzy original.

Hardly groundbreaking, Bullet Catcher is nonetheless a delicious confection spun out of the last thirty years of dance (and non-dance) history.