Archive - Noise

Russ Essom 21/06/2005

Rating: 3/5

The best bits of this sound like PJ Harvey - those dark, groovy tunes she's been doing over her last few albums. It really is as dark as her, and uses the same mix of electronic and live instruments that she has - but none of the tunes quite live up to her quality.

There is something about it that's just a bit too ROCK. The sleeve is made-up of gothic, cut-up pictures of cherubs and angels and the tunes just get too riff heavy. The singer's voice is like one of those over-practised rock voices trying to do some alternative, grungey kind of stuff. It doesn't quite work.

What there is to it is some really unexpected arrangements of strings and things around the tunes - big orchestration behind the songs that bolsters them and makes them sound a lot bigger. The press mentions Talk Talk's epic Spirit of Eden, an album of drug-fuelled soundscapes that morph in and out of massive tunes. That's what this sounds like, but it's full of electric drum samples and such things as well - a modern update of that idea.

Archive have done film soundtracks for French director Luc Besson, an impressive thing to have on your CV, and have sold hundreds of thousands of units in their native France.