Unfurl the ink drawing that makes up the sphinx-y cover of the debut disc from this mysterious British production team and you have a centerfold of a wolf devouring a supine, nipple-pinching waif and a stag mounting another pouty-lipped model. In each bestial scenario, the victimized female is in control, racking the former, de-horning the latter. It doesn’t make for the prettiest of metaphors, in that the anonymous female voices that Various deploy throughout
The World Is Gone emulate the Beths—Orton or Gibbons, take your pick—and emasculate the empty bowel-bass of their productions.
Various obsess with overmodulated low end in much the same way Portishead’s Geoff Barrow once vinyl-fetishized every scrap of sound. If only the folk- dubstep coupling of “Circle of Sorrow” had as much junkie-in-the-trunk action as Joni Mitchell’s “The Jungle Line.” But the vocalizing blokes don’t do much better on the alien topography. Amid the irregularly bulbed whumps, they sound like wankers delivering Blade Runner spoken word on “Thunnk” and “Soho.” The chancrous beat of “Hater” sounds better on a recent grime mix tape: MC Wiley brusquely bulls over the femme chorus, emulating neither Beth.