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By Charlie Baylis on 12.8.2023

Album Review – Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

“The Late of the Pier album is done” Erol Alkan insisted “It’s coming out in August”. The indie super producer promised me this in the middle of May, on a sweltering day in Brighton. If I spoke to him again I’d probably construct a sentence that completely underwhelmed my true meaning, perhaps, ‘great job mate!’ or ‘nice work!’ The English alphabet is completely redundant for detailing the mad cap brilliance of Late of the Pier. Either way, it really doesn’t matter; the Fantasy Black Channel has been unveiled. The lunatics have taken over the dance floor, heaven help you if you’re still locked in the asylum.

To define Late of the Pier’s sound is an idiot’s job, but nevertheless I’ll volunteer a functional method: take a random selection of ten chart toppers from the eighties and late seventies from the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles. If you’ve got Gary Numan, Roxy Music and Queen, that’s a pretty winning hand. In all seriousness, words are again at want for a true definition, but if your mind boggled the first time you heard the ‘Dig It’ opening gambit of Klaxons’ Atlantis to Interzone, keep that feeling, then turn it up to eleven.

After hearing the twelve tracks on Fantasy Black Channel at that volume, I imagine you brain would have exploded in supernova. That Erol Alkan has now retired from production after guiding FBCs sheer anarchy speaks volumes. The kitchen sink approach is indulged wantonly, with a dozen synthesizers and a cacophony of effects thrown at every song. Fantasy Black Channel is undoubtedly a brave album, every turn indulging a tuneful and melodic spectrum of lead singer, Sam Eastgate’s electronically warped mind. Despite the seeming multitude of influences, the four-piece’s music remains overwhelmingly original. Furthermore, even for mere mortals unable to channel super frequency waves, it is an incredibly enjoyable listen. If you require an escape from reality this summer, do tune into the Fantasy Black Channel.

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