It’s been quite a few moons since we last heard from erstwhile Two Lone Swordsman Keith Tenniswood under his solo Radioactive Man alias, with 2008’s Growl offering up his most recent longplayer. Four years on, this latest download-only album on Wang Trax Waits And Measures sees Tenniswood more or less directly picking up stylistically from where he last left off, with the ten tracks collected here being geared firmly around chunky electro breakbeats and sheeny synth atmospheres. ‘Pretty Ugly New’ certainly rolls with a signature Rotters Golf Club groove as rattling drum machines clatter away against burbling electro bass sequences in a manner that calls to mind some of the Swordsmen’s more pop-and-lock oriented moments, but in this case the flexing rhythms are counterbalanced out by the sweeping, soft-focus synths, which drag things away from the dancefloor into wistful headphone territory.
‘Wreckorder’ meanwhile takes things off into deeper electro-funk territory as elastic sub-bass bounces power against dry clicking snare programming and murmuring acid 303 modulation in an offering that leans closer towards the likes of Luke Vibert, before a gritty electro retake of Talking Heads’ ‘Crosseyed & Painless’ sees Tenniswood adding his own gravelly vocal to a twitchy backdrop of jacking drum machines and twinkling electronics that nicely suits the jerky tension of the original version. Elsewhere, ‘Engine Room’ provides a more contemplative counterpoint to the more muscular electro stylings, taking things off on a subdued electro glide that sees chiming bass chords and delicate synth pads combining in a manner that suggests mid-period New Order more than anything else. In many senses, Waits And Measures sees Tenniswood adhering fairly closely to Radioactive Man’s established electro template rather than really ripping up the rulebook, but fans of unreconstructed, analogue-driven electro shouldn’t really be disappointed.