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THE MEMBRANES – ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ Review

If punk music was a fine wine then The Membranes have certainly improved with age. Their first album since 1989, you can imagine their followers visiting the cellar year after year asking if it’s ready yet. However, patience is the key because the album release on June 22nd is a date for your diaries.

Inspired by a conversation with Joe Incandela, the head of the CERN project about the Higgs Boson particle, the album is all about the life and death of the universe. During recording, lead singer John Robb’s father passed away and the album took further influences around this issue. Joe Incandela even makes a guest appearance on the album on the track ‘The Multiverse Suite’.

‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ opens with the delightful ‘The Universe Explodes into a Billion Photons of Pure White Light’ – a crescendo of noise and mayhem yet melodic in its own right. This is followed by the musical juggernaut ‘Do the Supernova’ which was released as a 7” for Record Store Day. After a quiet start, Robb takes over with his unmistakable vocals singing like a hoarse tomcat with its tail caught in the clothes ringer.

There are times when the album reminds me of early Killing Joke, deep bass adding to the underlying darkness followed by screeching guitars, heavy percussion or just a cacophony of noise – excellent stuff.

The mix of slow and fast or melancholy and blow your ears out is perfect throughout. Personal favourites of mine have to be ‘Money is Dust’, ‘Dark Matter’ and ‘In the Graveyard’, the latter is almost 9 minutes of slow punk magic – “The wind blows high, the wind blows low, it doesn’t really matter when you’re in the graveyard”.

John Robb

The Membranes certainly have come of age and have invented their own sound. They are still inspired by punk rock but believe music has no boundaries. Since their return the band have played many festivals across Europe with more to follow. As well as releasing ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ on Cherry Red Records there is also a dark cartoon being made about The Membranes as a feature film.

Get yourself a copy of the album, find a dark room and play very very loud.


Gaz – Punk Online


Track Listing

  1. The Universe Explodes Into a Billion Photons of Pure White Light
  2. Do the Supernova
  3. 21st Century Man
  4. Money is Dust
  5. The Multiverse Suite
  6. Space Junk
  7. Dark Matter
  8. If You Enter the Arena, You Got to Deal With Lions
  9. In the Graveyard
  10. Hail to the Lovers
  11. Magic Eye (to See the Sky)
  12. 5776 (the Breathing Song)
  13. Dark Energy
  14. The Hum of the Universe