The Legendary Pink Dots – “10 To The Power Of 9″ parts I & II (Rustblade label 2014, 2-LP/CD/download)

The Dots in 2013 and 2014 have been on a good roll since being reduced to a trio with the core of Edward and Silverman, and adding Eric Drost on guitar. In 2013 they released 3 albums already, and in 2014 there is this, and the Chemical Playschool 16+18, as well as many free downloads from the archives. Edward Ka-Spel’s background for 10’9 is the conspiracy concept of a secret leadership in the world, where a handful of powerful world leaders meet in basements and offices in London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, etc. to decide the fate and doings of the world, from politics to stockmarkets. The two LPs were released the first part of last June on pink vinyl and the second part on Turquise vinyl in November, along with the CD which contains both parts.

Ten O’er Nine opens the CD and first LP and is quite melodic, yet with the noisy krish krash tinfoil digital subtle drum noise they have taken on, since the recent line up formed. One can take that as a complaint. Well, I tend to like the cleaner analogue synth sounds and rockier instruments, even drum machines are fine as long as they are not over treated to sound “industrial” like they do here. Primitivism is no obstacle to me. But it is a satisfying record from the Dots overall, and tracks like The Virgin Queen are really sweet with some really great lyrical waxing from Edward, his best and most emotional and political in a long while, serving with the Dots anyway, and brings out the “old” Dots fan in me, with Edward wailing lyrics about someone who might very well be Victorian era royalty yet… “this fine lady is no tramp”, and how “was it you who turned brother against brother”. Your Humble Servant is a bouncy synthy rock melodic track as the third song. Malice segueing into Freak Flag has a distorted cartoon vocal and a weird sample about someone turning into a Jesus freak or the snippet of spoken exclamation “wait til Jesus gets his hands on you, you little bastard!”. Feeding Time closes the first LP and has some Edward dramatic lyricism, “we are are here to please, and this hurts me more, the more I scream”… And yet, whereas the second LP (or starting on the 6th track on the CD) has the majestic track Olympus 2020 about our modern “secret” pantheon of leaders deciding our fate in shadow meetings around the world, the new world order, the remaining tracks continue to lumber on a bit unfocused. Alot of them are sprawling, psychedelic, melodic and obscurely created monuments of experimental industrial and ambient noise rock. Some, like the first part especially, stand out, yet alot is spread out as meat (or in Dots world, veggies) on the bone, which gets a bit “bad”, so to speak, psychedelic but ultimately a bit tiresome.

In the case of the CD I ordered the deluxe “bag” set which comes with a second CD and a badge and some post cards in a velvet bag. The best of the 2 tracks on the bonus disc (which lasts about 25 minutes) is the second track, Divine Resignation Part 5 which has a sinister monologue from Edward and is quite long. Overall 10 To The Power Of 9 is a very good effort and I give it just about a 9/10 rating, barely a solid 8. So, as they say, “Sing While You May…”

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Reviewed by Christian Mumford

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