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Review – Disco Inferno: In Debt (Rocket Girl)

Disco Inferno: In Debt (Rocket Girl, 2017)

Presumably named in jest, Disco Inferno were sensitive souls whose early-1990s experiments in deconstructing rock tropes and reassembling the components in new forms made them darlings of the weekly music papers. Alongside such peers as Bark Psychosis, Loop and late-period Talk Talk they breathed new life into the corpse of guitar music, inadvertently begetting post-rock in all its many guises while receiving precisely none of the spoils.

Comprising their debut LP Open Doors, Closed Windows and a clutch of vinyl-only releases, In Debt inevitably suffers on initial listening for its patina of unforgiving recording techniques so common for bands with limited funds at the time, the slew of cheap or hastily deployed effects failing to mask shortcomings in performance.

Persevere, however, and In Debt opens up like a bloom, providing clear context for the short-lived group’s ongoing legacy.

Across 17 tersely titled cuts – Emigre, Interference, Incentives – the group from the periphery of London outgrow influences such as Joy Division to point the way towards a future in which they would tilt fearlessly at bliss through a painterly use of spartan guitar (later augmented by sampling) welded to rhythmic adventurousness.

Reproduced with permission of Herald & Times Group.