Geoff Barrow has always made wonderful instrumental music for Beth Gibbons to swoon over. On his new venture alongside Ben Salisbury he has made 19 tracks sans Beth and the clan. Ben and Geoff get together on this album and created all of these tracks keeping instead a comic book in mind, the Judge Dredd comic in particular. The end result is Ben and Geoff’s vision of what “Mega City One” (depicted in the comics) may actually sound like, and I must say it’s a bit creepy. Having never read these particular comics the boys aural exudes suggest a ghost town teetering on the edge of something very peculiar happening very soon. Geoff was a pioneer and founding member in the beloved band Portishead, so unsurprisingly this album has fleeting moments of the same sounds where you can imagine Beth’s voice sweeping in, although for a PHead fan there aren’t nearly enough of these to keep you entertained.
Clearly this was a fun side project for Barrow during off time from Portishead, Anika, and other tinkering projects that keep him busy. Yet except for the track “End Them” none of the tracks feel as though they are full songs. The “songs” feel more like raw interludes for scenes in a horror film, or samples to use for films, none of it feels like when you sit down and listen to a Nine Inch Nails instrumental for example. It’s just a bit of anxiety inducing shuffle music that would work wonderfully in a slicer scene in your next summer slasher film. Yet somehow.. I think this was the exact sound they were going for, this may be exactly what Mega City One is supposed to sound like.