ShapeShiftingAliens are a strange and rare phenomenon in that they seem to make music which seems to sound like part of the future yet openly tip their collective hat, some sort of neon-lit, metallic fedora presumably, to many eras of past musical exploration. It’s a musical mixing pot that names such as Bowie, Eno and Reznor have drunk from to great effect and this Swedish duo are perfect company for those fellow future-retro musical contradictions.
The fact that the ghost of Bowie floats effortlessly above this mercurial release should come as no surprise, his presence is felt everywhere and those of a certain age and creative outlook can’t help but channel some of his musical personality and creative world view. Osmosis is the way of the world and exactly how musicians help form their own musical identity. But there are so many Bowies and Showing My Face is touched by the one who has just returned from Berlin and is about to head out to inadvertently show the Blitz Kids and New Romantics how it is done.
But Showing My Face isn’t all about a nod to the past, it is a glimpse of the future too, or at least of continuity, showing that just because certain genres have fashionable high water marks, the most interesting music can still be found between the zeitgeist tides. And ShapeShiftingAliens are a great discovery, and finding themselves planted firmly in the future that those new wave keyboard pioneers envisaged, are free to make music that is all about the here and now, rather than tie themselves down to some prophetic musical prediction.
Thus they are less about the cold, clinical detachment of their predecessors and more about taking electronic dance music on a strange, staccato waltz across the dance floor of possibility. Heady, intoxicating and slightly surreal, this is dance music for the outsider set.