DATAROCK’s newest album is named ‘Face the Brutality’ – try not to read anything too deep into that. “We heard a radio show in Canada with that name back in 2004,” Saroea confides, “and thought it sounded hilariously pretentious.
Coming from a metropolis of black metal, and with a background in punk and thrash metal, “we found the title so utterly wrong for DATAROCK that we’ve always wanted to make use of it for an album.”
Bewildering as this all could appear, it does nothing to undermine the sincerity of what DATAROCK do.
This, maybe, is tough to credit, given the band’s historical past of red tracksuits and sometimes playful lyricism.
There are a number of Easter Eggs scattered all through the album: see if you’ll find the homage to The Faces, or to cult 1985 movie The Goonies. However whereas these could seem light-hearted, they’re additionally indicative of the real artistry central to DATAROCK’s playful aesthetic, one which’s drawn upon Talking Heads and Happy Mondays, The Fall and The Stone Roses, Laurie Anderson, and even Kyle Dixon’s and Michael Stein’s Stranger Things score.
As Saroea so eloquently puts it, “Referencing isn’t just something I do for fun, but out of respect for the proud tradition of quality music, a tradition one ought to know pretty well if one aspires to be part of it. As a friend of mine said when we were kids, ‘You know, music isn’t a private, personal matter – it’s a relation-driven individual mastering of tradition and technique.’”
Face the Brutality is full of tradition and technique: the woozy pop of ‘Ruffle Shuffle’, the laid-back groove of ‘Sense of Reason’, the wired funk of ‘Everything’, even going back to Plato and the Greek myth of Icarus on ‘Feathers and Wax’, proving that Saroea took his education seriously.
Subversive and mischievous, disarmingly modest, effortlessly entertaining, and as daft as they are heartfelt, DATAROCK have been sorely missing from our lives these unsettling recent years. Their ambitions remain humble – “We hope the next album will reach out and put a smile on our fellow bitter and bored friends around the world” – but ‘Face the Brutality’ might even entertain a handful or two others.
Face the Brutality Tracklist:
- Ruffle Shuffle
- Sense of Reason
- Laugh in the Face of Darkness
- Feathers and Wax
- Beautiful Monster
- Invitation to Love
- Outta Here
- Darkness at the Edge of the Pit