After disappearing off the musical radar for nigh on a half-decade (after the washily received Hank Williams tribute, "Hanky Panky"), Matt Johnson is back, back and hey - back. These have been eventful years in the original angster's life; albums recorded and rejected by his previous record label, family tragedy followed by new fatherhood, and relocation to New York City, amongst other fretful events. And how has all this informed Mr J's tried and trusted brand of corruscating, scraping geetar-driven industrial pop? Erm, not a jot, really. He was pissed off beforehand, he's just really pissed off now. Not to mention melancholic, bitterly tender and brutally poignant. Right, business as usual then. And he's now on Trent Reznor's record label. See you at the Christmas party, lads. Mine's a pint of absinthe and powdered glass. It should be stated for the record that a new The The is still an event. While British rock floats around in a post-Gallagher stupor, here's a truly great wordsmith, his considerable talents fully intact, giving it everything. And then some. Standouts? Whispery, semi-accoustic laments "PhantomWalls", "SoulCatcher" and "VoidyNumbness". Good news? Another album in the autumn. About time. Pay respect.
-- Derek O'Connor