Fronted by charismatic singer John Robb, the Membranes formed in the wake of Punk in Blackpool in 1977. The band made a huge impact on the post-punk scene of the 1980s, with John Robb also establishing himself as a music journalist of note. John Peel was a huge supporter and bands as disparate as Mercury Rev, My Bloody Valentine and Big Black have cited them as an influence.
After Membranes folded, John returned to the stage with Sensurround and most notably Goldblade, before rekindling Membranes a few years ago. Dark Matter/Dark Energy is the first Membranes album since 1989. It’s awash with their off-kilter mix of angular post-punk adventure, Krautrock-ish soundscapes and edginess.
The album is inspired by a conversation with Joe Incandela, the head of the CERN project about the Higgs Boson particle (Joe features on one of the tracks). It’s all about the life and death of the universe; during recording, John Robb’s father died and the album is also about him.
The new Membranes have stretched their sound from noise to neo classical, from drones to jagged riffs to hypnotic grooves perfecting a new way transforming the grotesque into grandeur, making beautiful music and hypnotic noise. Dark Matter/Dark Energy conjures up primal forms of power that lie in noise rock and the most melancholic of classical music.
This is a record about life and death and the universe and it concerns itself with space itself and was sparked by a chance meeting between band frontman John Robb and the head of the CERN project who were working on the Higgs Boson project -entwined into the album is the death of a close relative and the record looks at eternal space and the death of close ones with a powerful and epic music that wreaks thunder and lightning, fire and brimstone with the hunter and the hunted and the hunter and the hunted of the inevitability of nature. The inevitability of nature.
The music weaves noise, drones, percussion, feedback, discord, melody, free jazz, dub, dark dub, free punk, heavy rhythms, classical music, orchestras, percussion, near silence, death to trad rock noise and freedom into a unique whole of beauty and noise and enjoys all the contrasts. The new album will see music from string quartets to dark dub to classic noise in a groundbreaking release- Dark Matter/Dark Energy.
The album is preceded by a Record Store Day 7” of the musical juggernaut that is ‘Do The Supernova’.
1. The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light
2. Do The Supernova
3. 21st Century Man
4. Money Is Dust
5. The Multiverse Suite
6. Space Junk
7. Dark Matter
8. If You Enter The Arena, You Got To Deal With The Lions
9. In The Graveyard
10. Hail To The Lovers
11. Magic Eye (To See The Sky)
12. 5776 (The Breathing Song)
13. Dark Energy
14. The Hum Of The Universe
MAY TOUR DATES
May 2nd – Manchester Deaf Institute
May 15th – Manchester Academy 2 (with Sleaford Mods)
May 22nd – London Lexington
May 23rd – Liverpool Sound City
June 6 – York Fibbers
June 12 – Edinburgh Citrus Club
June 13 – Glasgow Broadcast
July 4 – Leeds Brudenell