When a band does a closet-cleaning album, it’s often just not that interesting a closet — so it says something that Meat Beat Manifesto were able to assemble an album of outtakes and closet-cleanings that’s more cohesive than most actual albums by other bands. Armed Audio Warfare, the first full-length release by MBM, needs to be approached after people are already familiar with the band to be understood in its proper context. It still stands tall on its own, though — again, something most closet-cleaning records never accomplish.
Meat Beat Manifesto are one of the most successful outfits in the whole of modern-day electronic music. Not just commercially successful — although they are that; they’ve had a slew of albums that have sold well, a 5.1 remix DVD, tons of videos and plum spots on major movie soundtracks — but successful in the sense that they set out to accomplish things most people wouldn’t dare to try for fear of looking foolish. Their sound is a massive amalgam of influences — the industrial-dance / electro-funk sound of groups like Tackhead; conventional pop music; rap; and wall-to-wall noise. Like other bands who manage to suck in a bewildering array of sounds and make it theirs, it all comes out sounding like nothing other than MBM. That’s the secret of their success, to me: they put their stamp of personality on everything that comes out of their machinery. Warfare doesn’t so much feel like a freshman effort as a remix album, and a very good one at that. Read more