In the midst of Zoviet France’s fecund early years, 1986’s ‘Misfits, Loony Tunes and Squalid Criminals’ finds the group starting the ‘Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy’ tetralogy with a transition from their gritty fundamentals to a finer grained style of arrangement in flux between atavistic folk, ambient and a sort of rhythmic industrial noise that begat techno.
Taking its title from a 1985 scare quote by world stage actor Ronald Reagan, in which he declaimed Russian-supported state terrorism directed at USA, ‘Misfits, Loony Tunes and Squalid Criminals’ catches Soviet France rerouting that message to their own enigmatic meaning thru a murky pool of ideas revolving Urrhythmic noise, cranky horn bleats and dissolved voices, running into two particular highlights where they slow things down to a deeply intoxicating crawl.
Opened and intersected by a number of ’Signal’ parts brewed from sawn-off samples and palmed-out discord that recall Jeff Keen’s blatz or Numbers Station interceptions, the LP spirals thru the back-pedalling rhythmic loops and horny gaps of ‘Host / Blowing In The Instrument’ to a standout tract of eolian melody and bong-bubbling percolations that really wrap listeners into their tangy lather on ‘Flote’, while the gentle flow of ‘Semasen’ and hacked blues knocks of ‘Rattle Stick Cruss’ give way to another highlight in ‘They’re Eating The Passengers’, where their jangling, reverberant strings hint at the band’s horizons to come.
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