"Filled with punk energy and attitude, White Rats II fluctuates between foreboding short pieces and lurching main room energy"
Oliver Ho doesn’t fuck about, that much we know. His name has been pounding off the walls of the world’s best clubs for over 2 decades, both under his own name and a host of pseudonyms, amongst the latest of which being Broken English Club.
Broken English Club slowly surfaced through the mediums of Cititrax and Jealous God, but roared onto the scene with 2017’s ‘The English Beach’. Now, barely a year after the first White Rats album, the next round has begun.
Charged with the same gritty industrial force as the first, the second edition delves further into the pit of Ho’s inspirations, and it does not leave empty-handed. Filled with punk energy and attitude, White Rats II fluctuates between foreboding short pieces and lurching main room energy, but the artist never loses sight of his vision.
The grinding minute-long caution of ‘Our Savage Hearts’ before ‘Domestic Animals‘ pulls out the jackhammer and caves the roof in above our heads. In the halfway breather Ho laments ‘Black Walls‘, evoking the indomitable London brink Wormwood Scrubs, a stated key influence on the dread sensibilities of the project. On ‘Grey Windows‘ cold-wave glaciers further paint the image in bleak tones, moving the album closer towards the lurching precipice of ‘Cold Medicine’, a powerhouse elemental force.
‘The Chrome Disease’ ushers in new influences — J.G Ballard’s controversial and enigmatic ‘Crash’ (a novel about people getting off on car crashes, in a sentence). Later, ‘Exit Divine‘ (title heavy with connotations) describes a car crash scene in scientific depth and poetic colour. Stoic synths grin cruelly as the story progresses into chilling realms before white noise hiss summons clear highlight ‘The Modern Desire’. Air weighted with bass, kick drums lift the sonic pressure only momentarily.
Forged from blackened metallic colours and harsh grain, pollution and soot gathering on the windowsill, the record is wildly evocative of Ho’s influences. Across its expanse Broken English Club takes the known formula of cold wave, EBM and techno (and their close relatives) and refracts it through his unique prism. ‘White Rats II‘ is a definitive statement, startlingly individual, and another brick in Oliver Ho’s formidable wall of musical output.
‘White Rats II’ is out now. Order a copy from L.I.E.S.
A1. Our Savage Hearts
A2. Domestic Animals
A3. Grey Windows
B1. Cold Medicine
B2. The Chrome Disease
B3. Vacant Cars
C1. The Modern Desire
C2. Exit Devine
D1. Psychology of Prisons
D3. Waves in Silver