Review of The 5 EPs EP by Disco Inferno

Disco Inferno was an important band. They may not be important to you, but that's not important. Forming as a quartet in 1989, they soon become a trio and released some of the foremost forward-thinking alternative rock of the early nineties. Often grouped alongside Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis (who would go on to count early Disco Inferno member Daniel Gish amongst their ranks), they, in actuality, stood out like a sore thumb, sharing a penchant for the unorthodox but often riding at a higher tempo and showing a greater appreciation for contemporary sound and techniques, such as the inclusion of cut 'n' paste sampling.

Disco Inferno The 5 EPs EP

'The 5 EPs' is a fifteen track collection that spans the band's peak period of 1992-94 (they split in 1996) and showcases a dazzling, almost daunting creative spirit. 'D.I. Go Pop' and 'It's A Kids World' made like mutated strains of C86 that, instead of bursting out into a controlled mushroom cloud, reached critical mass and became black-holes, devouring anything nearby. The former is an exhilarating rush of rewound guitar riffs and scattering percussion, littered with half-coherent, melodic spoken word. It showcases the band at their most vital, whilst the latter is their most effective use of sampling, looping the opening drumbeat of Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life' and throwing in snippets of children's TV themes to create a canvas where the traditional four elements of vox/guitar/bass/drum are almost completely obscured; superfluous appendages rather than a back-bone.

In 'The Long Dance' and 'Love's Stepping Out', Disco Inferno also show a mastering of the slow build, plucked cyclical melodies that carry songs from start to finish. There are some hazy references to blissed out, drugged-up Madchester soundscapes, at least in the ideology of the scene if not the execution, as well as to the mid-eighties jangle-pop of The Lotus Eaters, but Disco Inferno's approach even here is much more kaleidoscopic. Ian Crause's couplet on the former, "As the noise of the past builds up into a crescendo, the layers of rubbish makes their plea amplified a million times or more" could be read as a comment on the band themselves; often the collages on The 5 EPs are riddled with clutter and sounds long since dated two decades ago but, as a whole, it has never sounded more relevant.

Whilst it most probably will not lead to the same misty-eyed nostalgia as Shoegaze has experienced recently, the rediscovery of Disco Inferno, along with the soon to be released Spirit Of Talk Talk project, highlights a small and almost completely cocooned fragment of alternative British music of a similar time period that contains just as many forgotten treats, and The 5 EPs is as good an entry point as any.


Jordan Dowling