26 September 2023

Uncanny Valley

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Coin, 10K Projects 2022.

I’m quite taken with this album. I was originally drawn to it by its clever cover art, but after listening to it a couple of times, I’m hooked by their clever use of technology to examine the dangers of artificial intelligence.

By deliberately choosing to embrace the advantages that modern recording offers they have created a futuristic and artificial musical expression in keeping with their chosen subject matter.

The songs and music explore the ever-blurring boundary between technology and humanity.

Coin vocalist/keyboardist Chase Lawrence commented about the recording process for Uncanny Valley:

“The idea was to take the elements of classic rock – the organic instrumentation and energy of drums and guitar and bass -then put all that through a very hi-fi and modern filter.

“We wanted to make people feel like they’ve opened a door to the future and heard a combination of sounds they weren’t supposed to hear yet.”

The band delved into a smorgasbord of musical genres to achieve their outcome.

There’s everything from ‘70s art-rock to ‘90s hip-hop, from disco and elements of classic Stones and Beatles, all bundled together and fed through the filter.

Even the vocals are mostly heavily filtered to create an artificial sound.

The album was co-produced by Julian Bunetta, who has worked with One Direction and Maroon 5, so this album was quite a change in direction for all concerned.

The lead single, the strangely euphoric Chapstick, is a fantastically warped track of opposites that shouldn’t work but somehow do.

The Stones influenced guitar riff paired with a drumming rhythm that runs counter to it set up an uneasy push/pull that underpins the entire track.

The track Brad Pitt asks questions about perpetual youth.

It’s built on a west-coast hip-hop beat but includes accordion.

Once again, they are elements that sit uneasily together but by careful massaging end up feeling like they were always meant to be paired.

Uncanny Valley is a lot of fun and a clever album that definitely rewards multiple listens.

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