As a kid, I always found more than one Membranes song in a row hard to consume; they gave me indigestion… All that triple-bad acid punk-jazz and incidental noises thrown together and then called songs. I wanted three chords; they played strange sounds in-between chords… Fast forward 25 years and I actually now love that kind of rubbish!
Dark Matter / Dark Energy is however very far from rubbish and Membranes have time hopped into 2015, dragging their Eighties clutter with them and thrown it into the Hadron Collider and produced this TRULY EXCELLENT ALBUM.
In essence Dark Matter / Dark Energy is a concept album that questions our very existence and is inspired by main man, John Robb’s visit to the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. On the back of this, a series of special and unique one-off events were set-up called ‘The Universe Explained’ where Robb interviewed scientists on stage and Membranes played at the end.
The very fact that on first listen I recognised all the tracks they played at their recent Focus Wales Festival appearance shows the strength of the songs. Opening track The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light has enough power to cause a rift in the space-time continuum – sheer cosmic energy that contains everything you want in a song.
You may have heard the Record Store Day single Do The Supernova which does have shade of old Membranes, but like I said, they spread 2015 butter on their eighties toast. A slam dance of a chorus against a stark backdrop of a verse. That single is merely a taste test for what you are about to receive…
It’s unapologetic, middle-aged, fucked up, 21st century music for people who wanna feel alive.
This album is as diverse as the universe itself – full of surprises, both dark and light – from the shamanistic tribal jam of Magic Eye where they cry ‘What is this scenery here?’ to the post-punk-funk of Space Junk.
From the brooding instrumental swirl of Dark Matter to the cow-punk opening of If You Enter The Arena, Be Prepared To Deal With The Lions that stomps all over your face with Size 11 determination.
From the eight minute kraut-rock western style groove of Money Is Dust to the chugging but sombre Dark Energy.
And so it all began with the Big Bang, I guess it all has to end some time, somewhere. The closing track questions this and kind of accepts our fate – ‘In the end we all die, everything dies, your loved ones die, the universe dies and everything returns to the hum of the universe…’
The Hum Of The Universe (the final track) depicts the end where everything will cease and we’ll be left with B-flat (the tone of that hum). This fine piece comes out like Nick Cave at his very best, Robb sings, ‘All God’s flesh turns to rust,’ as Membranes lay this magnum opus to rest…
Dark Matter / Dark Energy is out on 3rd July 2015 in various formats – Order Here