"Wealth = Success" (Album, 2012) !dso recommended!
This haunting second long player from UK electronic duo Heretics sees them leaving their 2010 Mirrors-esque debut for dust. Trading diversion for profundity, this feels like manifesto music with a mission as their talent finds the a voice capable of doing their ideas justice. Epitaph begins this bewitching album with an ending. A solid choice for a single, with echoes of Joy Division, it perfectly sets up the basic proposition for an inspired alignment of old school coldwave with contemporary witchouse. Roulette's timely lyrics explore the topic of the few gambling with the lives of the many. Yes, it's political, but like much of the lyrical content it's more social observation than ideological diatribe. A world weary (or should that be 'wise'?) commentator whose contribution is more by way of resigned informant than optimistic youth with aspirations to change that world.
“They said machines would save us. Instead they enslave us. It couldn't be worse.” An almost palpable sense of forlornness pervades every aspect of the ten tracks. On Engineer our guide laments “I used to be an engineer, but now I'm just an engine”. Meaning works at multiple levels. The example here perhaps both a comment on the decline of manufacturing and rise of service industries, as the skilled individual is gradually displaced by human cogs in an economic system whose primary purpose is to perpetuate passive consumption. Even when it works in a rhythm from a Casio VL Tone the powerful mood is maintained.
On Strangers David Whiting's voice fleetingly reminds one of Clan of Xymox's Ronny Moorings. This terrific song builds to a final third where the distortion of sound scorches the notes and the ears to glorious effect. It's about isolation of the individual in spite of being surrounded by people. A recurring theme of the album emerges in which our narrator consistently finds himself on the fringes of society. More an observer than an active participant. The root cause of the isolation might vary, but he's comfortable, even proud of being different and apart from the mainstream.
is an album free of cliché, brimming with inventiveness, and profoundly
personal. By buying a copy you feel like you're actually getting a
piece of Whiting. It's impossible to listen to it and not feel empathy
with our narrator.
The epically tribal Beyond Hope is six beautiful minutes of mournful moodiness. Bold in range – it's either the insights of an introvert or the impact of misguided empire builders. It opens with a Middle-Eastern inspired male chanting and Indian sitars and south American gutteral 'world music' percussion. It's almost Dead Can Dance.
By the time we get to the final track, in the first half of the song, lyrically Ambition suggests a conclusion of a depressingly resigned acceptance of the way things are: “Redefining hope, cutting back the scope... I've drained all my ambition”. However, whilst the words tell one story, the instrumental second half is defiantly more optimistic. The hope may have been scaled back but it burns bright suggesting those content to bide their time will prevail in the long run. Wealth = Success is the emotional soundtrack to an individual's soul in which powerful emotions are imparted by a rare (and brave), poetic honesty. That's why it is dsoaudio.com's 2012 album of the year. 8/10
Rob Dyer (December 2012)