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BMB – Where Pail Limbs Lie

It’s been seven years since their last release and a number of years after their final live performance, but despite this hiatus, British Murder Boys remain one of techno’s most revered acts. It’s not hard to understand why; after all, as individuals, Surgeon and Regis have provided us with some of the past two decades’ most uncompromising music, and the BMB project has in the past seen them pooling their talents to create truly provocative techno.

British Murder Boys - Where Pail Limbs Lie
British Murder Boys
Where Pail Limbs Lie
Liberation Technologies
12", Digital
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The dilemma now facing Anthony Childs and Karl O’Connor is one that has never been an issue for them before: in a world where new artists are teasing news shapes and narratives from the industrial and drone legacy left by Downwards and Sandwell, are BMB still relevant? This question is made all the more pertinent by dint of the fact that increasingly, O’Connor’s work as Regis sees him departing from the techno sound and foraying into post-punk and noise, while Surgeon released an excellent, largely abstract album, Breaking the Frame in 2011, his most cohesive work and most impressive successor to 1999’s Force & Form.

In short, with both members forging their own separate paths and with so many other artists taking up the baton that BMB created, has the project outlived its usefulness? As Where Pail Limbs Lie demonstrates, the answer is a resounding no. Granted, there are numerous producers pushing the broken beat industrial techno sound, but none show the flair for ideas and attention to detail, or who come close to emulating the bone-crushing intensity of the central rhythm on this title track. “Where Pail Limbs Lie” makes the listener quickly realise that BMB are operating at a higher level than those they inspired; its screeching strings, that scratchy noise at the heart of the arrangement that sounds like fingers scraping to escape from a closet; the heavy drums and the outro, where blasts of punky guitar are followed by the sound of birds tweeting in the countryside – these elements and their execution mean that there is a world of a difference between BMB and what it inspired.

“In Another Country” is more functional than the title track, and its dense, broken rhythm sounds like a heavier interpretation of O’Connor’s Kalon project – yet once again it’s the attention to detail, in this instance the waves of noise and fuzzy synths that surround the backing track, that sets BMB apart. Like “Where Pail Limbs Lie”, the outro features noisy sounds, a relief of sorts after the claustrophobic broken beats. This parting shot and all that came before it proves conclusively that O’Connor and Childs are often copied but never equalled.

Richard Brophy


1. Dead Sun
2. In Another Country