Switched On – Passarella Death Squad: What We Are, You Shall Be (Passarella Records)

by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Thirteen years might seem like an age in music, but Danny Passarella and Emilie Albisser have not been idle since the release of their first album.

As Passarella Death Squad they have established themselves as cutting edge clothing designers in London, following the lead of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Simultaneously they have been busy raising important human rights issues through their RAISE publication.

Though the two have their hands full, music has always been front and centre of their world – and here the duo release their first album since their self-titled opus in 2010.

What’s the music like?

Atmospheric and impressive. Passarella and Albisser make slow burning songs that gradually open out like exotic flowers. Their music crackles with atmosphere, and on cuts like Creatures it sports a strong four to the floor beat to go with a song that grows impressively.

Emilie Albisser’s voice is cool and sometimes deadpan, but it gets the ideal backing with lean, bass-led grooves that bring the work of Gus Gus to mind while maintaining a wholly distinctive voice.

Just Like Sleep is one of the standout songs, a nocturnal lament that is beautifully structured and executed. No Mas has a sharper bass shadowing a semi-operatic vocal, with a recurring theme that gathers momentum as the song kicks into gear.

Often the music sets the scene of a club with very dark corners, exploring ghostly and gothic themes with lyrics that are similarly low in temperature. The title track is a good example of this, Albisser’s voice threatened by a robotic intervention but the music continuing on its coolly detached path.

Does it all work?

Yes. The minimal production gives the songs – and in particular Albisser’s voice – enough room to make a strong impact.

Is it recommended?

It is. A smoky second album to lose yourself in. Make sure you give it several listens to fully cast the spell.



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