Ambivalent: R U OK

Ambivalent (Kevin McHugh) holds nothing back on his first Minus outing, making R U OK perhaps the filthiest sounding 12-inch to bolt from the Minus stables yet. The sleaziest moment comes first in the title cut where McHugh lays a distorted, gravelly voice (its tone resembles a stalker brutalizing a captive in an interrogation though the text itself indicates that it's one side of a club conversation) over a stripped-down, rumbling groove and an equally demented synth figure (an a cappella version follows which allows one to fully savour the perverted text). “Indecision” rolls out with a clockwork rumble and a spindly hook that needles its way into your skull. A wretch or two by McHugh punctuates the groove but then retires, clearing the way for an increasingly insistent drone figure that transports the tune into Consumed-styled Plastikman territory. Ambivalent ends the vinyl version of R U OK with “Nugget,” a strutting bit of business where an acidy synth line woozily snakes its way through a slap-infested pit. Two digital exclusives also accompany the release: “Bunt,” an acidic swizzle-fest of warped melodic burblings and slippery shuffles, and “Cold Hands,” a twilight romp of owl-like synth reverberations and rolling bass lines that neatly rounds out the release by reintroducing the disturbed vocal style with which it began.

June 2007