Archive – With Us Until You’re Dead

Trip-hop is what Archive do best, and while their progressive leanings are refreshing at times, they can run the risk of being too abstract. The group’s ninth album introduces tinges of soulful pop into a dark avant-garde aesthetic that finds the band more progressive than they’ve ever been. This has interesting effects, yet the hybrid feels somewhat disjointed and out-of-place.

With Us Until You’re Dead begins on a promising note (with ‘Wiped Out’, a powerful and expressive trip-hop anthem that feels surprisingly cinematic) and ends disappointingly (with ‘Rise’, a hushed quasi-folk track). Despite the fact that the album’s momentum seems to wane as it progresses, it finds solace in the heavily-fuzzed industrial tones of ‘Twisted’, and in the matter-of-fact lyrics of ‘Violently’. However, the latter becomes representative of the album’s disjointed hybrid: A jaunty piano line is layered on top of grimy trip-hop percussion, making for an unsettling listening experience.