Forget your gut-centered punk with the three-power-chord structure. Blackouts (not to be confused with local stars The Blackouts) confront the mainstream with punk attitude, but with all the musical intelligence of a progressive style, minus the pretentiousness.
Not industrial, but raw; not experimental, but artistic, the album embodies styles of punk hyphenated with such prefixes as gothic-, dance-, and electro-.
Blackouts began playing in the early ’80s, and although this anthology includes songs from 20 years ago, it doesn’t sound dated, but rather lodged in an era as required to produce these kinds of sounds. The title of the album, History in Reverse, refers to the reverse chronological order of the songs.
Presumably, the band begins with its most recent material because of the greater accessibility, and lulls the listener into more eccentric styles as the album progresses.
However, even the opener demonstrates the band’s interest in breaking down standard ideas of meaning with lyrics of “clang, clang, clang, clang” sung in precise intervals but for purposes other than literal.
“Being Be”, a vibrating, staccato-filled tune that sounds like someone’s giving a keyboard low-fi electroshock therapy, climaxes with a different brand of wordless vocals. Layering with atonal chords, braving flexible song structures so simple that they sound complex, as well as vice versa, Blackouts dish out a different effect for every song.
If your good but familiar CDs are feeling dull, then you may want to try out History in Reverse for a new spin on post-punk music.