Pere Ubu, Joy Division
industrial, futuristic art punk
" Modern industrial sounds in a maze of cement "
Mechanimal is a retro-futuristic industrial-punk unit hailing from Athens, Greece, whose experimental sound harnessed scattershot rhythms, industrial-strength dissonance and post-punk melodies. They capture the chaos of our times with both apocalyptic fervor and surprising humanity. Don’t be misguided, though, this is not a band, in the common sense of jamming, but a motoric drone n’ roll entity comprised of visual arts by Angelica Vrettou, together with sounds and vocals, that exist both organically and inorganically.
Led by the hulking producer and songwriting mastermind Giannis Papaioannou, aka ION, they released their eponymous debut album in 2012 through Inner Ear, featuring Freddie Faulkenberry on vocals and Tassos Nikogiannis on guitars (he later on departed from the act). The record introduced us to their claustrophobic urban space, where the narrative builds up to protean guitar rhythms and distorted beats.
The album Delta-Pi-Delta (ΔΠΔ), released in 2016, marked Mechanimal’s decision to explore the brighter and more sensitive aspects of their kraut-punk sound, joining forces with Etten and focusing on nature rather than the concrete environment. Their latest album, Crux, is their manifesto: darkwave and hip-hop, unspooling synths, taut guitars and spoken words rooted deeply in today’s harsh socio-economical times. ‘Poverina’, for example. is about a homeless girl, and ‘Ghetto Level’ is about the Airbnb’s explosion in the centre of Athens.
In short, it’s about life itself in a maze of cement. In March, Mechanimal’s new single ‘Athena’, came as a creative reaction to quarantine during the coronavirus epidemic. “Light/will shine in/again” they sing in a positivity anthem. Mechanimal’s covalent bond of black and grey is breathtaking because it’s real, and especially because to them the darkness holds no fear.