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Music Review

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The Great Distraction


Artist: Vessels
Label: Different Recordings
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 29 September 2017

Featuring collaborations with The Flaming Lips, John Grant, Vincent Neff (Django Django) and Harkin (Sky Larkin), The Great Distraction is Vessels’s latest release.

Describing the album, the band's Martin Teff said: "We're really aiming to create a living, breathing human version of electronic dance music. There isn't anything more honest and organic than the human voice. The vocals should be an extension of the music we make, and also add something new or interesting."

I got none of that from listening to this album. If The Great Distraction is to be compared to a "living, breathing human" I'd have to describe it as your mad uncle, who still thinks he's living in the '90s and is incredibly cool. When in fact, he's a family embarrassment.

It's a shame, as I really enjoyed the band's last album, Dilate (2016). To me, The Great Distraction is a major step backwards.

I remember listing to music like this back in the '90s as a student. I didn't much rate it then, but understood that it was electronic experimentation with DJs exploring the possibilities of their equipment and trying to push the envelope. Vessels delivers something that even back then would have been viewed as amateurish - the work of a DJ trying to get to grips with the technology.

The end result is a soulless, bland offering that sounds at least 20 years out of date. In fact, I wondered, for a while, whether this was in fact an experiment to see whether AI could create ambient dance music.


Nick Smithson

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