Review: Second Layer – World of Rubber
National Music Reviews
World of Rubber
Second Layer = Abecedarians + Joy Division + Cold Cave
World of Rubber is the entire discography from Adrian Borland’s and Graham Bailey’s (The Sound) short-lived side-project, Second Layer. Contained within are incredibly prescient sounds that prefigured the splintering fragments of post-punk that would occur later in the ’80s. Coldwave, darkwave and post-industrial find common spring in Borland’s acerbic and brittle guitar work and his deadpan vocal delivery, and in Bailey’s groundbreaking electronic programming and sturdy, plodding bass lines. Sparse electronic percussion and distortion-filled guitar passages make the album breathe with the dusty, dank rancor of urban decay, as if the sounds themselves were being filtered up from squalid basements. It’s endlessly influential—in songs like “Split Screen,” Borland’s guitar is tuned to alarm siren. In “Black Flowers” and “Japanese Headset,” Bailey’s electronic programming and sampling verge into tone-poem territory with possessed vocals and vacant, dubby percussion. World of Rubber is a vital 2xLP that preceded some of the darker entries from post-punk’s fragmentation. –Ryan Hall
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