Faith in Strangers cover

Faith in Strangers

Released

Our Andy, he’s a spooky fella. What is this little alleyway between genres? On Faith, Stott plays with how long he can hang back with the beat, and when he does bring it in, it’s fairly rusted and fractured. Oddly, or not, the title track has the most plays on Spotify, and that’s a sparkly Aphex-ish track that doesn’t really blend with the rest of the album. The mood here is Fury Road gremlins cranking the platform up into the guts of HQ, slowly.

Sasha Frere-Jones

There’s a fascinating thought experiment to be done in considering where Andy Stott might be in international profile and critical consciousness if a) he had signed to a London based label like WARP or Ninja Tune and b) he was a more manifesto centred artist. However, he has stayed resolutely connected to the northwest of England via the Modern Love imprint (affiliated to Manchester’s Boomkat store), and he is very much a show-don’t-tell kind of musician. Which is all to the benefit of his output — operating in his own space he has purified and kept his sound distinct and steadily evolving. Coming out of making refined but window-rattling northern warehouse techno along with Modern Love compadres Demdike Stare and Claro Intelecto, his grooves steadily slowed and became more Gothic, until with the arrival of Alison Skidmore’s horror movie sweet vocals on this album, his vision was fully realised. Here you may detect hints of The Bug, of footworking, of Underground Resistance electro, of Dead Can Dance, of early Sisters of Mercy, of untold other things — but all of the decaying 808s, synths that sound like physical machines malfunctioning, rusty dub echo chambers and Skidmore’s disembodied croon come together into one, instantly distinctive and total vision. For all that Stott could theoretically be better known, this album alone marks him out as one of the greats.

Joe Muggs

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