Futurism and progressive rock go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the new offering from The Amorphous Androgynous has given listeners the same hearty feeling of nostalgia. In collaboration with Van der Graaf Generator frontman Peter Hammill, Amorphous Androgynous (AKA The Future Sound of London) marks their return to new music with a clip from an upcoming prog-rock odyssey We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal. On the excerpt, Amorphous Androgynous delivers a maximalist, labyrinthine performance that evokes past ghosts of prog while looking towards the future.
The sneak preview is an excerpt from the 41-minute long work of the same name. “We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal” is an epic work purely in terms of scale: string and choir arrangements bolster the presence of a dense thicket of drums, guitars, bass, and synthesizers, not to mention lead vocals from Hammill. Following in a long line of prog-rockers, the lyrical influences follow the cyclical aphorisms of Roger Waters, and Hammill’s vocal performance floats atop the impenetrable instrumentation. The track evolves through several distinct textures, and hinging each section together is the guitar work of Ray Fenwick, tuneful and impressive in its casual virtuosity. Listeners can hear fleeting impressions of Frank Zappa, Aerosmith, and progressive jazz player Kamasi Washington as the Amorphous Androgynous journeys through each sound-world. With each shift in texture, the entrance of the drums blast the listener with pure energy and drive the piece forward with reckless urgency. Equally present on the track is a plethora of wacked-out sample work, obscuring the mix with cosmic sound effects. In the quest for epic immersion, the unintended side effects of these sampladelic procedures lead the track to feel cluttered and busy. That said, the excerpting of the larger work might allow for the band to explore these different sonic experiments later on in We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal.
In evoking the influences of prog-rock outfits before them, The Amorphous Androgynous have presented a tantalizing preview of the multiple futures for the genre. Seeped in rock opera aesthetics and epic maximalism, the release promises to revitalize the storied neighborhood of Rock City.
We Persuade Ourselves We Are Immortal out now on vinyl and CD here, available on all streaming services from 21st May 2021.