As always, the first Matmos album in five years doesn’t begin with the music itself. It starts with an specific approach, a conceptual framework, and a bold endeavor. Each of the nine tracks that comprise “The Marriage of True Minds” began with Matmos attempting to communicate the methods of their new album to test subjects who were deprived of both sight and sound. It’s a take on the Ganzfeld experiment, of which the Baltimore duo’s last EP was named after. The inspirations proved to be wildly singular: some came in the form of a hummed vocal fragment that was looped and warped, others in a visual depiction that intimated a musical structure to follow.
In translating these sources to song, “Marriage” is often playful and exuberant, exaggerating a voice snippet into an electronic symphony (“Very Large Green Triangles”) or matching what sounds like a Latin marching band with sirens and fire engines (“Mental Radio”). So much sonic material is placed into the album that highlights abound, but “Tunnel” may be Matmos’ crowning achievement on this double LP. The track, which features fellow Baltimore mainstay Dan Deacon, begins with stray scratches of raw guitar that is soon matched by a booming techno beat worthy of a night club dancefloor. “Tunnel” expertly accelerates and slows the swarm of hyperactive sound with a unique swagger until it closes unexpectedly in a fit of coughing.
Yet, for a pop album as varied as “Marriage,” the album is entirely listenable. The styles – ranging from the skittering pulse of tap dancing to the blackened churn of doom metal – are of course eccentric, but they are layered into tight, discernible shapes that are both meticulous and adventurous in a way that electronic pop rarely is. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia