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Pendulum - In Silico (Cover Artwork)

Pendulum

Pendulum: In SilicoIn Silico (2008)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 2.5


Contributed by: elmojitoelmojito
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Pendulum warned us they were going to change, and they did. In opening track "Showdown," they remind us about the flak they received from the drum and bass crowd concerning their crossover success with rock fans: "I know you thought I'd sold my soul, but never told me to my face. I just had to leave.
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Pendulum warned us they were going to change, and they did. In opening track "Showdown," they remind us about the flak they received from the drum and bass crowd concerning their crossover success with rock fans: "I know you thought I'd sold my soul, but never told me to my face. I just had to leave you cold, and blow this shit awaaay." This is a most unfortunate statement for a band who aim to blend the dynamic power of drum and bass with the immediacy of rock, because, put bluntly, most asthmatics blow shit away harder than this album does.

"Showdown" is agonizing and incongruent, and therefore a highly unexpected opener from the band who penned "Slam," "Blood Sugar" and also somehow improved a Prodigy track with their remix of "Voodoo People." Don't worry -- I get the idea, it's meant to be incongruent. It fuses two opposing genres into a kind of duel, as the track changes focus and tone halfway through. Thing is, itâ??s just too tepid to pull it off. The epic title implies an Old West gunfight, not "Brokeback Mountain." Pendulum have gone from music revolution to cowboy sodomy in one album, and I for one am a little upset about this fact.

The problems with In Silico are numerous: the beats suck, it's overproduced and there is too much emphasis on songwriter Rob Swire's vocals. Lead single "Propane Nightmares" has probably received most of this criticism for supposedly being emo and getting Radio 1 exposure. However, I'd argue that when Pendulum veer off more to the rock side of things, they manage to salvage the album from complete failure. "Granite" is another success, but both of these feel like album tracks to a far greater single that just does not exist. They do rock very hard, but none of the more drum and bass-flavoured offerings compete with anything on Hold Your Colour. The ones on display here are repetitive and lack the impact Pendulum had previously mastered with atmospheric samples and cunning buildup. See: "Through the Loop" and "Girl in the Fire."

In Silico is supposed to mean "born of computers," as if their rock style is the offspring of aggressive industrial coitus and contemporary technological wizardry. As many other reviews have noted, this is exactly the problem. Pendulum used to be great because they made cool electronic music with the urgency of real instruments. Now they make lacklustre rock music that sounds like it's been fed through and corrupted by a word processor. The image of the Microsoft paper-clip appearing during production is almost too lucid: â??I see you're trying to fuck up your new album; how can I help?' Therefore appropriately, "Mutiny" is the most cringeworthy treat here, with an out-of-place guitar solo and a breakdown ripped straight from the Arctic Monkeys. Stupid paper-clip; why couldn't they have just written a letter instead?

Yes, I believed Pendulum were set to revolutionize music, and part of me still does. Ever since hearing "Cubanate" and "Econoline Crush" remixes on video game soundtracks, I've been waiting for a band to pull off awesome guitar riffs with electronic beats, and this should have been the album to perfect it. It is not. This is made even more humiliating by the fact that they actually get so very close with "Granite" and "Propane Nightmares," and then it's downright annoying when we hear how the album closes. "The Tempest" is exactly what I was hoping for, and may be one of the best things you'll hear all year: a perfect fusion of multiple genres that illustrates Pendulum's power as well as the void that they could fill. For me, these three tracks make the album worth the purchase, but it's not enough to put the band where they should be, and for this they deserve to be punished.

Born of machines? Methinks this one should have been aborted. If I ever meet Rob Swire with his laptop, I'm pushing him down the stairs.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
eazyd2 (January 19, 2009)

this shit is fuckin gay

elmojito (January 18, 2009)

Thanks for the comments everyone.

givemeamuseumandillfillit, I think you got it spot on, I wish I'd said that. Hopefully Pendulum have been given the same advice, they were so close.

Bring on the new Prodigy album.

ChadReligion (January 17, 2009)

I really thought of Pendulum as Drum and Bass pioneers, coming up with the most intense and inventive (see Voodoo People Remix for The Prodigy) but after this heaping mess, I say, nevermind.... there must be aother.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (January 17, 2009)

Great review, but the laptops aren't the problem.

If anything, there's the lack of electronic trickery that made this record not a very enjoyable listen.

I might be biased because i work with things like these for a living but if you record instruments and tranform them in a digital enviroment the result can be absolutely breathtaking if its done with enough care and time. I think their next record is going to be like that. They just have to record the songs as a rock band and then go back and bring up their obvious skills from Hold Your Colour and just make it a urgent, in your face smash record. There's alot of similarities to hardcore and dnb, NYHC style riffs sound like late 90's/early 00's dnb if played on a keyboard with a fat bass patch. They need to just write a bunch of riffs, play 'em as a rock band and then work their magic in the home studio for a few months. Shit like that takes time, you mentioned Prodigy in your review and they made their new record like that and it took 3 years of constant work.

crackpotdemagogue (January 17, 2009)

chris, i know you've had the username for ages... i was just joking around. i love pre sing the sorrow afi; black sails, art of drowning and answer that and stay fashionable are fucking great records!

RoyStorey (January 17, 2009)

this album owns fuck the haterz

someone-yeah (January 16, 2009)

This band is swingin' back the other wuhay

chrisafi (January 16, 2009)

in hindsight, i chose a bad name when i registered for this site because i always get comments like that. (not bad because afi are still one of my favourite bands but i didn't envisage not being able to predict the future getting me so much shit) but i did register here well before DU and also before STS. I feel old. I tell people this alot, I hope one day maybe everyone will know and be silent.

back to the point, I thought hold your colour was excellent and this made me die a little inside

crackpotdemagogue (January 16, 2009)

p.s. good review

crackpotdemagogue (January 16, 2009)

i agree with the sellout sentiment expressed by the ironically named chap below. this record is like listening to pure void. it's just a horrible mix mash and it comes off sounding contrived and too clean. boo.

chrisafi (January 16, 2009)

sellout record

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