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Sons of Ken – Disco Sucks Review

Kingly concoctions on the EP cover generated by the firm hands of artificial intelligence guide a clear theme through Sons of Ken. The duo has a fascination with the fabrications of technology and deploys it deep and harder on their second release, Disco Sucks. That it does, or it does now anyway. Drawing not from the destruction of disco in the hands of blue-blooded power but the Disco Demolition Night which saw a crate of records blown to smithereens with fireworks, Disco Sucks is that same raw power held on Work All Nite. Repetitive chants of “disco sucks” are not wasted, the funk groove which rumbles into play on the titular opener sets the mood perfectly.  

Chants go on and on, the fluid motions of Michael Moran monitoring vocoders and Spike Burridge lobbing synthesizers into place create the ideal energy. It is the expectation, so high after Work All Nite, which provides part of the momentum these Sons of Ken create. Disco Sucks matches the energy, the steady surge and the desire for more to be pumped out of the speaker system as those who took part in the infamous Disco Demolition Night riot. While a cameo from the Steve Dahl story may form the core, it is the efforts of the Sons of Ken duo that bring it to fruition, into something feasible and listenable. Change the pace and sound for Phase Space, the more obvious, out-of-this-world-oriented track of the EP.  

But cast aside the glum shrug of the shoulders when space pop is present, Phase Space is a pulpy little number that would feel right at places crawling over the opening credits of some forgotten science-fiction show. It has a Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace essentialism to it, so tongue-in-cheek yet filled with love it is. Go harder though. Take that Disco Sucks attitude and make it tighter, tougher and harsher. It does not hit the latter, but the rules of three work best when describing tracks like Disco Sucks (Harder). Prepare for the disco demolition. A unique and forgotten bit of history to revolve around, the harder techno steps of the (Harder) edition is a quality adaptation of a track which holds its own anyway. A shorter mix of an already new track. These are the glory days of the 1990s Vocoder remixes back in the forefront.  

Despite all its weighty experimentation with the real world and adaptations to musical form, the best is saved for last. The rather vibrant and upbeat Let’s Go Home takes its place as EP closer, calming the pace and bringing down the mood to an acceptable pace. No more bonfires or blowing up records, just the desire to head home with nice tunes blaring as the club floor gets sticky and the garlic mayo sauce starts to congeal in that sickly little way it does after a night out. Sons of Ken hit their heart out of the park on this one, their brief foray into the demolition of vinyl a successful trip for those hoping to hear pockets of the electro future. It is here to stay and the Sons of Ken, adapting this with a wonderful range, brings out the best in their mash-up of components, drum machines and electrified vocals.  

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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