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Den Haan – Gods From Outer Space review

Following their debut on Dissident in 2008, great things have been expected from Italo revivalists Den Haan. With the likes of Gatekeeper (the Merok version, rather than the Bristol dubstep-techno fusionist) recently enjoying success with a similar style of synth-heavy, horror-flecked analogue disco, there’s some pressure to deliver with this debut full-length. We probably shoudn’t have worried. Gods From Outer Space certainly delivers on that early promise, offering an action-packed set that shows the British duo at the peak of their powers. As ever, this power is built on layer upon layer of faithfully authentic analogue synthesizers; machines all singing as one.

Right from the moment eerie opener “The End” springs into life (a clear John Carpenter reference), Gods From Outer Space is a full-throttle ride. The title track itself is typical of what follows; an over-the-top Italo-disco/Hi NRG fusion that sounds like a four-way love romp between Giorgio Moroder, Patrick Cowley, Ian Levine and John Foxx. Like the brilliant “Russian Boat Commander” and “Release The Beast” it seems to revel in its vests-off campery. But then, this is Italo, after all.

While Italo and Hi-NRG are, of course, the most obvious reference points, Gods From Outer Space is more than mere nostalgia-driven dancefloor pomposity. “Universal Energy”, for example, delights in adding urgent new wave vocals to a musical palette that’s half Bobby Orlando (The Flirts, Divine etc), half Gino Soccio. The latter was obviously an inspiration, too, for the disco madness of “Night Shift” and “Metamoprhosis” – two highlights of an album packed with memorable dancefloor moments.

Matt Anniss