Some mystery lies behind just who exactly is pushing the buttons and twiddling the knobs on this first full length release by Plus Device. Is it a name producer or a knowledgeable new face? Is it a PR ploy or shyness? It doesn’t really matter, of course, if it’s decent. It’s released on Hefty Records in Chicago, and following on from a recently released compilation that was well received in these very pages this is also rather good.
Puncture manages to both present variety whist keeping a consistent thematic background sound going that mostly allows it to avoid the common traps of many dance LPs of either sounding like a compilation of different acts or one long song. Most of the eleven tracks feature similarly sparse instrumentation to the early techno pioneers from Detroit or Chicago — namely snapping hi-hats and snares, percussive bass and squelchy synths, but a few other periods in electronic music have also been given nods.
…snapping hi-hats and snares, percussive bass and squelchy synths…
So alongside the dark, Carl Craig-techno of “Our Pleasures (Realization)” and “Public Transport”, Puncture features more straight ahead Eighties electro on “Ultra Seductive”, bootybass on “Sexual Harassment” and saucy Chromeo-esque vocoder-funk on “Come Inside Of Me” and “Body Heat”. It doesn’t always work, however. A couple of the tracks, including “Pupil Measurement” and “Refreshing, Invigorating”, meander a bit and though have similarities to some of the recent AFX ‘Analord’ series (compiled on Chosen Lords) they lack Richard James’ sense of perverse experimentation and, sometimes, something to hook onto and remember.
Whoever Plus Device is, he/she/they seem to have a handle on the origins and developments in electronic dance music, particularly in the US, and have produced an LPs worth of solid, fairly distinctive retro-electro. It is perhaps too long and lacks a bit of focus at times but Puncture generally hits the mark.