Assemblage 23: Tom Shear (vocals, various instruments).
Audio Mixer: Tom Shear.
Recording information: 2001.
Photographer: Alan McClelland.
After such a powerful debut release, Failure was a much-anticipated follow-up from electro act Assemblage 23. Tom Shear did not disappoint, and Failure transcended any expectation. The sound of Assemblage 23 has evolved into something darker and more refined, and Shear has more to say. The combination of these elements leaves a release that is energetic, emotive, and uses sound in an original way. Failure opens with one the strongest tracks. "Naked" is honest and uplifting despite the heavy dance beat and smooth electro melody. "I Am the Rain" and "Disappoint" are equally danceable, but again Shear has not compromised the complexities of his harmonies or the gravity of the music in doing this. Tracks such as "Tried" and "Longevity" slow the pace, allowing Shear's heavy vocals to take the fore over percussive synth melodies and sweeps. "King of Insects" juxtaposes haunting melodies over the energy of breakbeats as the artist stretches the limits of the genre in a truly accomplished conclusion to the release. There is enough going on with this release, musically and emotionally, that it will demand repeat listenings. These traits mix to form what could be one of the most important releases of the genre. ~ Theo Kavadias