(2016) Neptune

Higher Authorities

... read moreHigher Authorities is a side project of Clinic members Adrian "Ade" Blackburn and Jonathan Hartley that leans heavily toward the group's dub influences. The duo's songs consist of a loose drum machine pulse surrounded by organ and fuzzy wah-wah guitar, and of course waves of echo effects. The album...

40′:39″ 10 Songs

1
Another Time, Another Place
Higher Authorities
6:18
2
Twilight (In Luminous Lodge)
Higher Authorities
3:00
3
Colour
Higher Authorities
3:42
4
...And Why Not?
Higher Authorities
2:53
5
The Clone
Higher Authorities
4:52
6
If
Higher Authorities
3:49
7
Monocle Man
Higher Authorities
4:06
8
Abracadabra
Higher Authorities
3:43
9
Decades
Higher Authorities
4:39
10
Neptune
Higher Authorities
3:37
Released 20 April 2016, Domino Recording Co Ltd

Review

Higher Authorities is a side project of Clinic members Adrian "Ade" Blackburn and Jonathan Hartley that leans heavily toward the group's dub influences. The duo's songs consist of a loose drum machine pulse surrounded by organ and fuzzy wah-wah guitar, and of course waves of echo effects. The album was mixed and co-produced by Adrian Sherwood, Britain's foremost dub expert, but the songs are closer to languid psych-pop rather than post-punk or reggae. At some points, it seems somewhat like Sun Araw with more of a pop focus and faster tempos. Other moments recall the homespun indie-dub-disco of Peaking Lights, but with a slightly paranoid feel rather than sunny optimism. Blackburn veers toward speaking rather than singing on several tracks, bringing to mind Underworld's Karl Hyde at times, particularly when his effects-altered voice chants "everything" during "Colour." Background studio chatter surfaces occasionally, lending to its casual, in-the-moment feel. There's only a handful of instances where the dub-damaged effects overpower the songs; this isn't anywhere near as harsh or whacked out as Mark Stewart's most bizarre work. "Monocle Man" comes closest to that territory, though, as it features some intense spliffed-out delay surrounding a British female voice who brings to mind Sherwood collaborators like Ari Up and Little Annie. There's a tiny bit of sly, mischievous Lee "Scratch" Perry-like humor mixed in, particularly when barnyard animal sounds start creeping into "Abracadabra." Surprisingly, it takes until the album's final minutes (during the relaxed, swirling title track) for a melodica to show up. Higher Authorities doesn't seem to have any ambitions beyond being an informal extracurricular venture, but it sounds decent and trippy enough. ~ Paul Simpson