12-Sep-2016 05:54

As with Tonights the Night, a ghost hangs heavily over HTRKs sophomore effort, in this case the recently departed Sean Stewart, the groups bassist, who tragically killed himself last year.


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You have to know this to perhaps truly appreciate the songs emotional bleakness, but this sense of pained isolation is strongly underlined by the mournful synths, disjointed percussion and lethargic sampled choir that Yang and Standish lay onto the original found sounds.Its a darkly moving entrance to an album that, if not directly influenced by Stewarts passing in the way Tonights the Night was by Whitten, certainly relies on an atmosphere of resignation and moodiness.Tonights the Night is dedicated to Whitten, who had died just months before it was recorded, and hearing his sweet, soulful voice, singing about the drugs that would be his undoing, is a stunning cannonball-to-the-heart moment.Work (work, work) doesnt have such a directly, intentionally, affecting moment on it, but it comes close.

Yet there is, nonetheless, a Come On Baby Lets Go Downtown moment, right from the off.As Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang explained in a recent interview, opening track Ice Eyes Eis is made up of samples Stewart made of late-night sex chat adverts on German TV, evidently recorded one night when he was alone and depressed.