Theo Keating is a man of many guises; those of you who were around in the 90’s will probably know him as Touché, others might know him for his avant-garde work in The Black Ghosts and others, who are really really nerdy, might know him for his part in The Wiseguys. But for today’s exercise we’re concentrating on his Fake Blood moniker and his debut album ‘Cells’.
The opening couple of tracks show-off Fake Blood at his very best. ‘Yes/No’ and ‘Airbrushed’ will immediately bring back memories of his flamboyant Touché productions. They’re overflowing with mind-bending acid riffs, over-the-top rave hooks and steely drums. ‘Phantom Power’ & ‘End of Days’ go a completely different direction.They’re jarring pieces of haunted techno; creepy as hell, but mildly accessible. You get a real sense that Fake Blood is trying inject moments of unbridled tension, trepidation and fear within ‘Cells’, which he does with varying levels of success.
It’s a battle between light and dark – but you know there’s only ever going to be one winner. ‘All In The Blink’ is momentary respite; happy, carefree, and obviously Fake Blood luring you into a false sense of security. By the time you hit ‘Let It Go’ you’re back in the warehouse groove as he attempts to match acrid basslines with mainstream vocals, we’d even go as far as saying it’s one of the best tracks on the album. The unrelenting darkness continues with the grating ‘Sideshow’; the smokey pop of ‘Soft Machine’; and the inharmonious ‘London’.
‘Cells’ is a really accomplished album, but you can’t help but feel it strays a bit too far into the dark, in places. It’s not really a criticism – but as a body of work it’s very hard to fault. Ruthlessly efficient, inherently dark, but brimming with catchy leads, bulbous kicks and haunting synths. It’s electro at its best – but just don’t expect to come out the other end with a renewed sense of purpose or positivity.
HBF Rating 4/5
Out November 12.
Stream and share the album, ‘Cells’ on www.fakebloodmusic.com