Antoni Maiovvi – The Thorns Of Love (Caravan)

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Born in Bristol and now Berlin-based, Antoni Maiovvi’s preceding two albums on Seed, 2008’s ‘Electro Muscle Cult‘s and its 2009 follow-up ‘Shadow Of The Bloodstained Kiss‘ saw him crafting an eerily funky fusion of giallo-style synth atmospherics and Italo-disco that sat somewhere between Goblin and Giorgio Moroder. One year on, this third album on Caravan ‘The Thorns Of Love’ sees Maiovvi introducing a more discernibly indie / New Wave influenced sound to his pallette that at times calls to mind ‘Brotherhood’-era New Order – indeed, there’s certainly more guitar elements present on several of the five lengthy tracks presented here. While opening track ‘This Is This Beast’s more or less directly picks up from where Maiovvi’s preceding album left off, with shimmering layers of glacial Kraftwerk-esque synths gliding over a crisp backing of electro-motorik drum machines, ‘Horsehead Blue’ offers up this album’s first unexpected curveball, with Maiovvi contributing his own deep, Sisters Of Mercy-esque vocals to a lush backdrop of murmuring, phased synths and punching gated syn-drums that sits closer to that of John Foxx or ‘Violator’-era Depeche Mode, twinkling melodic ‘ice notes’ and all. ‘The Sigh From The Sky Was A Lie Without Doubt’s meanwhile offers up the most noticeably New Order-informed moment here, taking things off into a glide of shimmering colourful synth arpeggios and stiff drum rhythms that wanders off into an end section straight out of ‘Substance 1987’, Peter Hook basslines intertwining with jagged, stripped-back guitar riffs, before epic centrepiece track ‘Class Dagger’ takes things straight out into thirteen minutes of swirling, intricately arranged synth atmospherics reminiscent of Paul Hardcastle’s electro-oriented work prior to his explorations into jazz. In any case, fans of Maiovvi’s preceding moody Italo-tinged work should be more than kept happy by what’s in store here.

Chris Downton

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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands

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