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That Geniuser’s previous releases have slipped under the radar seems in keeping with Michael Allen’s career to date: as leader of The Wolfgang Press, 4AD’s 1980s punk-funk pioneers, he was revered, yet rarely rewarded. This collaboration with Italian painter and producer Giuseppe De Bellis deserves better, though for some, its choking claustrophobia may be too distressing. Oozing malevolence, I Am’s dark grooves are viciously unsettling, not least on the ugly grind of Man Of Sand – which also nods cheekily to Can – and on Monkey, in which heavy dub underpins washes of evil effects and Allen’s barbed, malicious lyrics. Is It Me?, too, builds up an increasingly paranoid head of steam, and even the sluggish Epiphany bleeds a bitter spite. By the pallid A Thousand Sorrows, however, Allen sounds burned out and morose, while Find You finds him frankly desperate. A perfect record, one might say therefore, for acutely imperfect times.

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