The first minute of Hypnopazūzu – the duo of producer Youth and Current 93’s David Tibet – suggests merely Tibet’s diverse, yet mid-paced psychedelia hardwired with electronics. It’s a deeply deceptive impression; Create Christ, Sailor Boy is a highlight in both artists’ long discographies.
Opener ‘Your Eyes In The Skittle Hills’ sets the template for what is to come. As that first minute ends Tibet launches in at full stretch pouring meaning into the line chosen for album title. By three minutes in Youth has summoned a lavishly orchestral backdrop that keeps Tibet at high intensity; his voice strains for the peaks his sonic surroundings demand. That sense of urgency, of determination to wring glory from each moment, it never relents from here on in. Far from sounding cowed or intimidated amid the high-gloss digital sound that Youth brings, Tibet sounds reinvigorated both lyrically and vocally – at times the smiling spite and violence of his earliest works seems rekindled and brought to full blaze. The record is imbued with echoes from some of the best work of the Eighties – all brought up to 2016-standard: the bass parts on ‘Sweet Sodom Singsongs’ conjure with Jah Wobble’s most pop chart worthy efforts while, at moments, Tibet’s twang originates inside the mouth of PiL-era John Lydon. The luxurious backdrop pushes Tibet to some of his most assured performances ever (no small claim) – on ‘Christmas With The Channellers’ his voice soars again and again to sustained peaks, wrenching power and drama from every word. Each time Tibet reaches a new height the music surrounding him surges forward, pressing, lifting and carrying the vocalist still higher. It’s a testament to Youth’s abilities as a musician and producer that the music works throughout in such synergistic unison with the voice.