Interzone is the third full-length album by New York’s electro post-punk duo The Vacant Lots (Jared Artaud and Brian MacFadyen): a genre-blending synthesis of dance and psych made for secluded listeners and all night partygoers, meant for headphones and the club. It was released on Fuzz Club Records last week.
Created with aid from Alan Vega’s Arp synthesier and mixed by Maurizio Baggio (Boy Harsher), it continues the bands mission of “minimal means maximum effect”to create an industrial amalgam of icy electronics and cold beats with detached vocals and hard hitting guitars, delving into escapism, isolation, relationship conflicts, and decay with nods to William S. Burroughs and a Joy Division song along the way. “Interzone is like existing between two zones,” Jared says. “Interzone doesn’t mean one thing. It can mean different things to different people depending on their interpretation. Working on this album was a constant struggle reconciling internal conflicts with all that’s going on externally in the world. Interzone in one word is duality. We don’t want to waste people’s time and we want people to play it over and over. Our mantra is ‘is it bulletproof? 8 songs. 30 minutes. It’s about intention and vision.”
Opening with ‘Endless Rain’, an instant classic dance sounds prevails with a mesmeric post-punk beat that drives the track from the rear. There are hints of previous hit ‘Never Satisfied’ in the guitar riffs which ties their past success with the new direction the sound has taken. ‘Into the Depths’ could be taken from a different record, with a lower tone taking hold. It’s very Vega-esq and its clear to hear the borrowed influence, that’s enhanced and made it to something all its own. ‘Rescue’ is the more traditional TVL sound that we have come to know and love but ramped up to a new intensity and underpinned with a beat that wouldn’t have been out of place in The Haçienda. ‘Exit’ adds a range of different elements to rank the volume right up and the complex nature of it requires repeat listens to appreciate the finer nuances within the sound.
Jared explains that in ‘Fracture’; “I lifted the ending of Marquee Moon & played it backwards to get that lead guitar riff in the song. It’s a song for all the loners & lovers. It deals with the duality of being in a relationship. the highs & lows. communications & miscommunications. There is always some kind of conflict within a relationship, but I see in the lyrics like a film that deals with the initial feelings of love & attraction & the inevitable fall & deterioration of those feelings. What once was liberating & free is now trapped and imprisoned set to a driving, up all night on the highway beat.” ‘Payoff’ is the club track, no doubt about it. From start to finish, it inspires dancing and evokes imagery of sweaty basements, either from days gone by or in the current underground. ‘Station’ is a slower, thought invoking track, which feels like it pays homage to many previous artists, whether intentional or not. It’s an interesting combination of sounds that blends into the brilliantly named concluding track ‘Party’s Over’, because after listening to this record, that’s exactly what it feels like. Thankfully, you can just start it again.
This is the perfect summer record; strong grooves that traverse genre taking all the best elements of psychedelia, post-punk, electronica and even a bit of disco to create a record so familiar, so refreshing, yet somehow so unique.