2002, Dancing Bull Productions
Reviewed on 2007-07-31
The Barkett brothers' second full-length release as Boole is a masterwork of synths, samples, saxes, and silliness. It's difficult to attach a reference point to the album, as it draws clearly on influences ranging from synthpop and industrial dance to 70's funk and old sci-fi flicks, but if you imagine Front Line Assembly and Kraftwerk, accompanied by an entourage of clowns wielding saxophones and keytars, you might have some idea of what Boole is all about.
Pheromones starts out with three upbeat floor-stompers in quick succession, probably the best three tracks on the album. That doesn't mean the rest is filler, though. The next song, "America Inline," is a sampled collage of political sound bites, AOL and Win9x clips arranged to blast the American government, and while the loop in the background is pretty simple, the mashup is fairly clever.
In keeping with the heavy sampling pervasive throughout the entire album (I counted at least 15 in the first track alone), Pheromones also includes two covers, both excellent. The first is the old Ministry anthem "Everyday Is Halloween", which also, in a stroke of genius, also incorporates the famous piano staccato from the movie Halloween. We also get to hear Boole's manic take on Styx's classic "Mr. Roboto", which slowly spirals happily out of control.
The only weak points in the album are "Libertine" and "Complicated," which stick out like a sore thumb even amidst such an oddball collection of songs as the rest of the disc. "Libertine" is a send-up of generic eurodance, while "Complicated" is reminiscent of 80's icons Bobby Brown and Paula Abdul, but neither of them quite hit the spot. Both are still pretty catchy and show that Boole has a knack for nailing just about any musical style they attempt, but they just don't mesh well with the surrounding tracks.
Boole is probably too ambitious and varied in their approach to ever win over the masses, but they are masters of their craft and Pheromones is a solid album deserving of an honored place in anyone's collection.