Various – So Click Heels review

Talk about a reinvention. Karl O’Connor has travelled a long artistic road over the past decade. From dense and grainy techno as Regis, through the hypnotic, monochrome grooves of Sandwell District – not forgetting the dense, broken beat loops of Kalon and Ugandan Speed Trials – to the murky electronics of Sandra Electronics, it’s been quite a ride.

Now O’Connor unveils an album’s worth of grungy punk-fuelled material from close associates and random artists. Is there a sense that the Birmingham artist is spreading himself too thin? Not on the evidence of So Click Heels. Sandra Electronics splutters forth the paranoid post-Suicide “Untitled” and Antonym’s “Return To Normal” sounds like an amalgamation of US electro with grunge rock, but that’s where the links to electronic music end  (the use of drum machines notwithstanding).

For example, Deathday’s “Dropped Into Obscurity” sounds like it has inherited Bauhaus’ theatrical gloominess, with eerie guitars and a death march beat supporting the doomy, muffled vocals, while The KVB’s “Dayzed” is similar but more aggressive with screeching guitars billowing across the arrangement as the ghost of Ian Curtis wails forlornly in the background.

It would be fair to say that with So Click Heels, Downwards aren’t trying to kick down the same doors that “We Said No” smashed, but it does give artists like Silent Servant to reveal their inner Goth, as the brooding bass and claustrophobic drums of “Traumatic Age” demonstrate and as such is an endearing, worthwhile entity. More importantly though, it also contains a real gem from O’Connor, and if the dreamy, windswept indie of Six Six Seconds’ “Tearing Down Heaven” isn’t a pop hit in a parallel universe, I’m going to burn my Sisters of Mercy tour poster.

Richard Brophy 


Tracklisting:

1. Deathday – Dropped Into Obscurity
2. The KVB – Dayzed
3. Pink Playground – Ten
4. Tropic Of Cancer – Be Brave (Richard H Kirk Remix)
5. V West – Catching Me Cold
6. Sandra Electronics – Untitled
7. The Vivids – Mt. Radiant
8. Silent Servant- Traumatic Age
9. Colin Gorman Wieland – Bound To Burden
10. Green Screen Door – Brooding Giant
11. Antonym – Return To Normal
12. Six Six Seconds – Tearing Down Heaven