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65daysofstatic
Escape From New York Toby Cook , May 14th, 2009 04:47

Let's be honest: there are certain bands that you have never really heard until you've experienced them live; 65daysofstatic are one such band. Whether crammed onto a stage supported by milk crates down The Dog and Duck or elevated above heaving masses in 50,000-seat amphitheatres, you're guaranteed one thing: a note-perfect peregrination through glitchy, electro-tinged epic post-rock, played loud as hell.

Given the elephantine nature of 65DOS' live performances, compared to their recorded output, it's a challeng, to say the least, to know where to start when approaching a live album. Recorded over two dates at Madison Square Garden and The Radio City Music Hall while on tour with The Cure, Escape From New York on first listen feels more mid-career Greatest Hits than a genuine attempt to coalesce all that makes 65DOS so impressive a live outfit into a more tangible format. But it soon becomes apparent that this opinion would be misplaced. Granted, the decision to include very little banter and just as little audience reaction makes for a rather fragmented collection of songs, lacking the continuity you would expect from a live recording.

However, the eventual pay-off is terrific. Standards like 'Retreat! Retreat!' and opener 'Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here' sounds as vital as they ever did on The Fall Of Math and One Time For All Time respectively, whilst the subtle nuances of closer Radio Protector creep and writhe around a consuming Parthenon of schizophrenic noise, finding an area neither your parietal nor temporal lobes can quite comprehend.

Along side the live recording, is 65DOS - A Road Movie, chronicling 65DOS seven week trek across the US in support of the Cure. I won't lie, Some Kind Of Monster or Anvil: The Story Of Anvil this aint. But then again, it's not supposed to be. Most of the shenanigans captured are more tea 'n' biscuits than sex 'n' drugs, and from a purely fan-boy perspective, the insights garnered via the various vox-pop interviews with individual members are interesting enough to require some attention, but on more than one occasion veer in to asinine musings on such enthralling topics as the evils of advertising.

Shot primarily using digital and super 8 film, the visual style mirrors that of 65DOS' music, but owing to the amount of footage shot on handheld's the viewing experience is often akin to that of a particularly choppy Channel crossing aboard a P&O ferry. Elsewhere, as impressive as the live performances are, the sound quality is occasionally, well, appalling, and falls well short of that captured on the CD.

It would be cynical to write off Escape From New York as a between albums cash in, especially as in never for one microsecond feels like one - notwithstanding it still proves that there are some bands that you simply just have to see live.

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