The new album from Exploded View, Obey, out Friday on Sacred Bones, is an affecting release, the sort of bravely-iconoclastic sonic offering that suggests a real desire to strike out into uncharted territory. If the album is palatable and challenging at the same time, that says a lot about the skills of the 3 players here: Annika Henderson, Hugo Quezada (Robota), and Martin Thulin (Crocodiles).
At times, like on the bleeping "Open Road", one supposes that this band owe a debt or two to Dots and Loops-era Stereolab, even as the more sinister "Dark Stains" buzzes with the sort of bad intent found on certain Throbbing Gristle records. Elsewhere, the elegant "Gone Tomorrow" and the title cut venture closer to traditional forms of electro-pop, even as the stark "Sleepers" sees Henderson deliver an arch, ice princess-sort of vocal performance, equal parts Sadier and Nico. The jittery "Rant" and rough "Come On Honey" suggest another path, dashes of Non and Mary Chain atop a techno throb.
Exploded View have produced something a bit abrasive here, and yet it's also lovely in spots. Obey straddles a line between the truly alternative and something closer to alt-rock, Exploded View favoring an approach that balances norm-challenging with a desire to maintain accessibility.
Obey is out on Friday via Sacred Bones.
[Photo: Exploded View]