Based in old London town, Standish/Carlyon are a splinter cell of Australian rock outfit Devastations, formed of members Tom Carlyon and Conrad Standish. However, they’ve been estranged from Oz for a long time now, soaking up the scenes in Berlin and the UK, and using what they’ve picked up along the journey to create something far removed from their days in Devastations. This is futuristic dub-pop, dark, brooding and full of synthesised wizardry that harks back to the soundtracks of ’80s sci-fi flicks and the bedroom producers of South LDN.
They’ve made waves with tracks like ‘Nono/Yoyo’, a blog favourite with deep new wave revival flavours of Wild Nothing and lurid, mutated bass riffs. It has set off signals everywhere, with people falling over themselves to fawn over the pair – and quite rightly. The astral beauty is captivating; it’s a sonic fractal with echoes of echoes reverberating around Standish’s celestial falsetto. Popular cut ‘Subliminally’ follows suit – you’re instantly lost in a labyrinth of effects, and even the metronomic industrial percussion (which bears an odd similarity to ‘Closer‘) can’t drag you back to a safe place. Their sound is all ebbs and flows – in some respects it’s a bit homogenous, everything sort of blends together – and their ideas are presented in terms of structure and dynamics rather than through lyrics or melodies.
What the duo excel at, is being irresistibly sexy. By having a sound that tends to morph lethargically, rather than jerk with reckless abandon, the sound fills whatever space it’s given. It’s very fluid. Like Massive Attack or Portishead, who are adept at moulding sonic lust, the noises are bass heavy, full of ethereal synths and lit by red bulbs. Mostly, Deleted Scenes has got a simple, easy-to-follow (ahem…) rhythm, and a lurid, thick texture which envelops you with ease like a spider capturing a fly in it’s web. The hazy vocals only heighten the sensuality – the lyrics tend to be masked underneath layers of production, so really all you hear is Standish moaning and groaning and making passionate noises.
’2 5 1 1′ is one of the best examples on the LP of their tantric aural ability (pun very much intended). There are sparse, distant handclaps and rumbling bass vibrations. The synths are brooding and John Carpenter-esque, evoking a kind of nervous excitement that leads to fumbly tremors. ‘Gucci Mountain’ has Standish channelling a distorted Bowie. It’s dripping in the pitter-patter of maudlin keys and howling gale samples. Where Daft Punk make a sort of glamorous, frivolous soundtrack for the bedroom, and Ratatat own a drugged-out carnal bliss, Standish/Carlyon weave a more intense, ignore-the-world sort of music.
Whether they’ve intended to indulge in this sort of style deliberately or not isn’t entirely known but it would be quite an impressive accident if they didn’t. Deleted Scenes, regardless of whether the pair’s intentions are pure or not, is a stunning debut foray into the world of electronic noises. There are plenty of standout moments to be discovered here, and save for the fact perhaps it’s a bit too seamless, there’s really not much you can find fault with. With the no-holds-barred sexuality and melange of ’80s nods/electronic effects, this is sure to find a place on many end of year lists.