In a recent interview, Channel One referred to doing free shows as their best career move. Attending a gig by the Dublin quartet can be as jarring as it can be euphoric, a blend that is commonly sought by acts but rarely realised. It is on the strength of this reputation more so than the Accelerate/Break and Permissions EPs that Channel One emerge into the greater public consciousness with this debut LP. Those releases always had the air of a playable concert invite more than a declaration of genius, which is why this album comes not a week too soon.
The transition from noise rock to electro is also not an unusual move in modern groups, but it usually occurs somewhere into a career, at a point when they are having a dry spell in inspiration, or, foolishly, think they can trumpet their artistic independence. None of this appears to apply to Channel One, who came gift-wrapped and fully-formed as the country’s premier techno rockers.
Sound To Light displays their wares nicely, but it did take State a few listens to get with the script. What can appear as wholly melancholic mood slowly breaks down with repeated listens to a selection of shades. Opener -Soubresaut’ is a pulsating mini-epic, complete with an ethereal vocal. It sounds like he’s chanting -are you ready’, but we could be wrong. -Three Stars’ begins with crackling minimalism before swelling into a wash of shoegaze guitars and cymbal crashes. Former EP track -These Roads’ is reinterpreted here simply as -Roads’, and without the club beat of yore. It’s a muted, meditative closing scene to this particular 11-act drama, and serves as a moment to reflect. After all, there’s lots to think about.