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Baltic Fleet: Towers

Album Review

Haunting electronic elegy for post-industrial Britain.

It’s six years since multi-instrumentalist Paul Fleming – released his acclaimed debut album as Baltic Fleet. It was written while he was touring as keyboardist for Echo & The Bunnymen, and each song reflected the city in which it was recorded. This one’s a different beast entirely.

Towers was recorded in the post-industrial landscape overlooking the former toxic waste dump of Spike Island in the Mersey estuary (‘a cultural no man’s land in the shadows of industry’). That industry is reflected in analogue synth pulses and repetitive riffs reminiscent of Kraftwerk, Neu! and Harmonia. 

But where the krautrock crews captured the sound of Teutonic post-war productivity, Baltic Fleet hit a more maudlin note on tracks such as Headless Heroes Of The Acropolis. Winds Of The 84 Winter seems haunted by the collapse of the mills and mines and all who worked in them. The chilling The Wilds recalls Goblin, Joy Division and DJ Shadow and could move even the most cynically minded critic of electronic music. 

Towers is a stunning work, nostalgic for a past when work offered identity and purpose, yet is resolutely the sound of recession-gripped modern Britain.

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