Coil - Backwards 2xLP


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Label: Cold Spring

Our Review:

The Backwards sessions were long shelved due to legal disputes between various parties; but the recordings that are comprised on this posthumous release date all the way to 1992 with radical edits and revisions made during sessions at Trent Reznor's Nothing Studios in 1996. Backwards had long been promised as a release while Coil's founding members John Balance and Peter Christopherson were alive. While alternate versions of many tracks appeared on The Ape Of Naples and The New Backwards, this anthology revisits the original sessions as conceived and concluded in the late '90s.

Throughout a storied career, Coil were always baroque proposition; and Backwards is very much a baroque album, with a kitchen sink of electronics and live instrumentation liberally saturated throughout the cryptically serpentine synth-pop sensibility that made Coil such a unique band. Skittering, static pulse sequences formed the basis to much of Backwards, alternating between darkly lysergic dance numbers and ballast-heavy marches of somber, twisted, and / or malignant thought. The titular track is certainly a standout with John Balance chanting amidst scurrying, hectic collages, countered by the swaggering hip-sway of the rhythm track - very much in keeping with what Coil had done on Love's Secret Domain. The immediate next track "Amber Rain", with its impassioned vocal hymn from Balance and an melancholy melody for synthetic piano, looks forward to what Coil would later do on Musick To Play In The Dark. Hindsight is 20-20, and of course, this album has been claimed to be - and should be seen - as the transition between those two landmark works by Coil. A very welcome entry in the already hallowed Coil canon.