Second Layer – World of Rubber (Dark Entries, July 2015)

Your country needs you, your country bleeds you dry. Drugs for the dying, meadows for the dead. Loyalty screaming on a blood-stained bed”. Adrian Borland formed Second Layer as The Sound were also forming, along with fellow Sound bassist Graham Bailey. While the outlook (and the insight) is similar to what was happening with the duo’s main project, Second Layer had a much colder allure, a more rigid sonic presence, a grave metallic beat (a drum machine is perhaps the greatest difference between the two bands), and not a trace of swagger or hipness. This is the first vinyl reissue on vinyl of World of Rubber, but perhaps even more importantly it’s expanded too, with a load of other material from Second Layer’s earlier efforts, State of Emergency and especially Flesh as Property.

I wonder if the reason this Second Layer record appears to have gotten quite a lot of attention over the past seven or eight years has something to do with a political, generational dissatisfaction. Because the record performs a series of juxtapositions we need but no longer seem to be good at: it’s raw but detached. Minimal, but heavy. Uncompromising, but melodic. Engaged, but totally alienated. Elegant, but rather brutal. And true: “Production – consumption – production – satisfaction – production – religion…