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With Lambdin out and Spain barely there at all, everything rapidly became a Edge/Creed show in the realm of Chrome by the time of Half Machine Lip Moves. The basic tropes having been established — aggressive but cryptic performance and production, jump cuts between and in songs, judicious use of sampling and production craziness and an overall air of looming science fiction apocalypse and doom — all Edge and Creed had to do was perfect it. Starting with the fragmented assault of “TV as Eyes,” which rapidly descends into heavily treated conversational snippets from TV and deep, droning keyboards, Half Machine sounds like a weird broadcast from thousand of miles away where rock is treated as an exotic musical form. Creed fully gets to shine here, his pitched-up/pitched-down guitars as good an example of psychedelic assault as anything. Sprawled all over the beeps and murmurs of the songs, not to mention Edge’s still self-created drumming and Iggyish vocal interjections, it makes everything sound utterly disturbed. If not as obsessed with tempo shifts and full oddity as, say, Faust, Half Machine is still pretty close to that band’s level of Krautrock playfulness and explosion. Two of the relative saner numbers are practically power-pop, at least in Chrome terms. “March of the Chrome Police (A Cold Clamey Bombing)” has Edge sneering an actual vocal hook over a brisk beat, even while Creed gets progressively more fried on the guitar and rumbling echoed laughter and barks erupt in the mix. “You’ve Been Duplicated,” meanwhile, also has something of a vocal hook, only buried under so many levels of distortion that it might as well be a malfunctioning keyboard being played among the clattering percussion and other sounds. A suitably strange cover shot of a fully head-bandaged mannequin seemingly floating in space completes the package.

-Ned Raggett, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
Chrome-HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES (1979)
320kbps

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