Two years on from ‘Dissemble’, Tough Love’s post punk poster boys have delivered a record that showcases their desire to expand from the filthy din of their origins. For the most part, they achieve this expansion and prove to have written a promising sophomore.
The debut captured the sound of a band that’s cold, static, and brutal. ‘The Moral Crossing’ brings a more developed collection of songs from a band that’s had time to build and mature.
The album’s title track, with it’s cross-syncopation of drums and synths, is layered heavily with new elements. String sections adorn the synths in the latter half, proving that the Leeds collective can still club out gothic and industrial tonalities but with anthemic sentiment. ‘Torment’ directly follows on includes another poignant string part, but with a female’s spoken word ‘discours’ taking centre stage in each verse.
This last point is proof that a few mere traces of the album may feel overworked; majoritively, ‘The Moral Crossing’ adheres to the rule that less is more, but in small parts it may begin to suffocate. The french spoken word may indeed have some significance to the narrative of the album’s message, but it does feel inserted purely with the intention of it appearing high brow. The desire to express their recent cultured influences does come across, and that’s not a bad thing, but perhaps it could be more subtle.
Sometimes though, they let their new mask slip slightly, to reveal some of that darker, colder songwriting that we associated with them in years past. ‘Execution/Rise’ bludgeons us with the face of uncomforted fury. An angular beat juggernauts it’s way through a static and foggy cloud of volcanic guitar; it’s brutal and effective.
‘Creation’ and ‘Future’ are the two biggest jewels in Autobahn’s new crown. Equally balancing the Siberian side of the old industrial Leeds sound with the new warmth brought in by new influence, they prove that this is a band who don’t intend to sit back without crafting a different path moving forward from the depths of their cavernous noise.
Ultimately, ‘The Moral Crossing’ is the sound of a band who aren’t resting on their laurels. It’s a gradual but noticeable growth spurt in one of Britain’s best bands today.