Front 242 have gone a little strange of late. The most recent example is this single - a rather short 2 track affair that accompanies a rather long 9 track EP (Angels Versus Animals) which I'll be reviewing later and which was in turn taken from 05:22:09:12 Off , just released in the US (after a lengthy delay) and confusing US F242 fans in much the same way it did in Europe back in August.
The radio edit of "Animal" included here is fairly straightforward - one of the more approachable tracks from Off with a lot of the noise and the lengthy intro stripped off, the language cleaned up for radio and the addition of a slightly cliched dance beat and some extra guitar. Fairly close to the original and, were it not for the female vocals, easily identifiable as Front 242.
"Born To Breathe" is something else entirely. Next to this track, "Religion" sounds like an out-take from Geography. I think the best description of it that I can give is electronic grindcore. Slow, grinding guitars over equally grinding electronics with dark spoken/rapped vocals. I think I can safely say that a lot of Front 242 fans are going to really, really loathe this. I'm personally rather taken with it.
So, overall, quite good if unbearably short. I'd imagine that anyone except the absolute completist (or the strapped for cash) would go for the longer, more expensive Angels Versus Animals. If you do decide to get this single, expect something a little different - if you disliked Off you shouldn't go remotely near this one though, it's far less 242-ish than even that album.
Erland Rating: +1
Al Crawford (firstname.lastname@example.org)