Recorded at Benge’s MemeTune Studios, Wrangler's latest album White Glue (released in September 2016) features 9 new tracks by Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Phil Winter (Tunng) and Benge (John Foxx & The Maths). Their debut album, LA Spark (released in 2014) was described by Q Magazine as ‘creepy and brilliant, music you can dance to while looking over your shoulder. The best kind of music.’ According to Uncut, ‘LA Spark is a compelling listen with former Cabs vocalist sneering on the imperious title track. He’s still got it.’ Meanwhile, in June 2016 Wrangler released Sparked: Modular Remix Project. Filled with mixes by the likes of Mute founder Daniel Miller, Chris Carter from Chris & Cosey, Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails) and Scanner, it’s an expansive, sprawling canvas of analogue sound, spread across a double gatefold album and created exclusively on modular systems.
The new album White Glue also has the 3-D depth of analogue (the ancient synthesizers in Benge’s MemeTune Studios have never sounded so good), but there’s less geek and more funk; more Mod than Modular in its tailored, minimalist design. Mallinder’s vocals are a surreal joy, smeared with effects and electronics as they change, chant and shift around the jump-cut lyrics. The opening trio of ‘Alpha Omega’, ‘Stupid’ (Mallinder in a new mutant funk-falsetto) and ‘Clockwork’ (a nod to Kraftwerk who famously name-checked Cabaret Voltaire as ‘brothers in popular electronic music’) sets up White Glue with the crisp crack and thud of sequenced rhythms and lush synthesizers. ‘Dirty’ starts like something from Forbidden Planet, pauses for a moment and then slams into a compelling funk beat with a bristling guitar riff courtesy of Julie Campbell (LoneLady).
Other highlights include the white-light-techno-rush, triggered synths and chopped-up, multi-layered vocals of ‘Real Life and ’ ‘Colliding’, the spacey Krautrock closer - a beautiful, nuanced semi-instrumental song which exits with dreamy, abstract vocoder sounds and ambient synths. Over the last 3 years Wrangler have toured across the UK, Europe and Japan and recently played at the Royal Albert Hall as special guests of John Grant (15th June, 2016). They also joined forces with the US singer at an October 2016 show in the Barbican, London, where Grant and Wrangler played a unique new collaborative set as part of Rough Trade's 40th anniversary celebrations.