Pendulum: In Silico

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Aidan Williamson

13th May 2008
At 14:12 GMT

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Everybody always sees the glittering romance in 'Romeo & Juliet' type stories. Two people drawn together by love to cross cultural barriers no matter what the odds. Nobody ever thinks about the poor families they consign to the same fate of interaction without the benefit of love to hold them together.

If drum 'n' bass is the Romeo, then rock is the Juliet in the story of Pendulum's "In Silico". They clearly have a love for both genres and seek to bring them together, leaving the fans of each camp the giant task of overcoming their differences. Some will stand up for the challenge, others will blatantly disregard the happy ending that Romeo & Juliet scenarios result in and only warm to the parts which appeal to their pre-determined tastes.

Antipodean emigrates Pendulum have come up with a sound which takes the intelligent structure of rock, coupled with its attention to lyrical details and thrown it against the sheer might of drum 'n' bass, a force capable of spurring white people to attempt dancing. It's not a perfect pairing though, some tracks, such as "Propane Nightmares" and "The Tempest" skew heavily to the rock side, whilst others, such as "Mutiny" and "Visions" go to the d'n'b arena. When the middle-ground is found - take "Different" for example - Pendulum really hit home the fact that these two schools of music can co-exist fantastically.

With patience though, most will be drawn to the wealth of influences which Pendulum bring to the fray. Quite impressively, they manage to concoct compelling introductions and conclusions to each song, instead of the usual 'mixing point' closure. Granted, some strike as quite odd. "The Other Side" begins with the score to "Jurassic Park IV: Dinosaurs in Jungle" but it's cleverly constructed, although on more than one occasion - citing "Propane Nightmares" as exhibit 'A' - the climax comes too early, kicking songs in when they could perhaps have been better served with more time to build towards the break-out.

A central motif which first appears in opener "Showdown", rears its head again in "Propane Nightmares" before having its final reprisal in "Granite" forms a structural backbone to "In Silico" and carries the album through its hour run-time quite effortlessly.

There are of course the inevitable drops of the baton, "The Other Side" squanders the interesting intro with an unimposing mid section. However this is quickly rectified with "Mutiny", one of the strongest tracks on the album with its instantly arresting mini-breakdown in the main riff, and somewhat successful attempt at incorporating a guitar solo which segues into one of the best drum-beats on the album which sees the song neatly through to its conclusion.

Much like the classic story mentioned at the outset, we can only see good things for this unlikely pairing. Consider those barriers broken and a 'happily-ever-after' ending in the making. Now we just have to work on tolerating the in-laws.

Rating:  8 / 10

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