Perverts In White Shirts – Power to the Sheeple

Perverts In White Shirts is a collaborative effort of Nathalie Dreier and Dave Phillips, the latter of Fear of God fame. Power To The Sheeple, released on vinyl LP by Zürich based Cruel Bones, took five years of experimentation to produce, and that is not difficult to understand. This is some peculiar, peculiar music, in many ways defying classification.

The album begins with a minimalist, choked beat with a synth note where the snare drum should be. Bass and percussion of various types follow. Disfigured female voices work their way between the speakers, and a variety of samples and melodies enter and exit the sound collage as the track, called “e.l.a.n.k.y”, keeps building. As is often the case, the initial song is a good indication of what is to come. Rhythmic, experimental, electronic and usually quite powerful (though seldom aggressive) music, defying many if not most musical conventions, but maintaining some staples that help keep it far away from harsh noise or some other non-musical genre.

There are also several exceptions to the formula, if such a thing there be. Most notable among these are “benjamin”, which consists of a heart-beat with subdued Hammond style organ. Furthermore, each and every track utilizes many different elements and borrows from many genres, making for an interesting and often bizarre sound, stuck in some borderland between soundtrack, industrial, ambient, dance music and sound experiments.

The label believes the music should be called “noise pop”, which would make sense when compared to regular pop, but less so if you’re coming at this album from a harsh noise or HNW perspective (which, of course, very few people are). To understand what this is about, you could think about what would happen if you deconstructed trip hop until almost nothing was left, and filled in the blanks with electronic industrial music, Japanese horror culture, and a sort of joyless-yet-sublime lust for experimentation for its own sake. You get the gist quickly, but will still be surprised by each and every song. In “sycophant” some aggressive female rapping brings Bang Wa Cherry’s “Chin Chin” to mind, in “overfucked and understimulated” the beat approaches something like chopped and screwed, while noisy chaotic synths create an atmosphere that really can’t be described.

To try to catch the overall feeling of this album, think of Aphex Twin stripped of any commercially viable elements, while retaining some of its catchiness. If we had to use only two words, “evil Björk” might do the trick, though now we’re stretching things. Power to the Sheeple is often dark, sometimes cold, and always unbelievable strange. Of course, we can’t recommend it enough.

In addition to this album (which can be pre-ordered on vinyl here, or digital download here), the band and AnaHell have also produced a video for “favor”. We won’t say much about it, but should you choose not to watch it, you’re missing out. Seriously.

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