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FOUND – Cloning (Chemikal Underground)

It’s fair to say that FOUND never like to be tied down in the one place. Their records have ranged from the genre hopping early albums through the glitchy electronica of the ‘Fidelities’ E.P. to the streamlined indie rock of ‘factorycraft’. But, even by their standards, ‘Cloning’ (their second album for Chemikal Underground) is quite a jump from their last.

The journey from ‘factorycraft’ to ‘Cloning’ probably began as far back as the Retreat Festival in August 2011. My comment that day on an all instrumental, electronic set sounds like I knew what I was talking about:

“Who knows? Perhaps some of these pieces may form the basis of future FOUND material.”

I don’t know for certain that’s true but certainly when Ziggy and Kev played live as a duo for the first time in autumn 2013, they had embraced a fully electronic sound. The building blocks for ‘Cloning’ were well in place.

Of course, FOUND have always dabbled in electronic music, but ‘Cloning’ still manages to take them into new territory. The guitars have been jettisoned and in their place come gleaming and ominous sci-fi synths.

None of which is to suggest that the band have ditched their songwriting strengths in this transition. Unquestionably many of the songs on the record share fundamental DNA with earlier incarnations of this constantly evolving band.

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Lead track (and single) ‘A Souvenir For Every Hope You Had’ may have waves of synths but it’s still recognisably FOUND – and irresistibly catchy.

But ‘Souvenir’ stands almost alone in the accessibility stakes. ‘Hit The Clone Button’ adds not just words to the instrumental ‘Hit The Kiss Button’ (from the Lomond Campbell E.P.) but also a disquieting air which is more representative of the material as a whole on the record.

Indeed many of the songs invoke a certain apprehension in part because Ziggy’s vocals are somewhat subsumed in the instrumentation of the machines.

The record also has a raft of imaginative instrumentals which sound like they come from some 70s sci-fi movie with song titles such as ‘End Sequence’, ‘Main Title’ and ‘Credits’ a nod to the influence that soundtracks have had on the record.

If the songs with the words tend to be more expansive the conciseness of ‘factorycraft’ is, rather unexpectedly, represented on some of the instrumental tracks such as ‘The First Catastrophe’ and ‘Clone Your Own’. These tunes match the economy of their last album yet pack a lot into their short, lean running times.

With various line-up changes FOUND seem in a permanent state of flux . Yet, above all else, ‘Cloning’ is testament to one constant – their restless commitment to re-invention.

Essential.

‘Cloning’ is out on Chemikal Underground on today (5th November)

Here’s a taster for the record with the radio edit of ‘A Souvenir For Every Hope You Had’

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