H2SO4 began in 1998 as a remix project when CODE reworked songs by Rhythm King signings SULPHUR. It led to the release of an album ‘Machine-Turned Blues’ with the  music appearing on TV dramas such as ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Six Feet Under’.

Following the departure of Andy Phillips after the second album ‘Glamtronica’, Graham Cupples and James Butler continued as H2SO4. In collaboration with production duo BOMBAY MONKEY, they present a concept album about love versus death. “We hope this album has you rooted to your seat, interested in what happens next: a story of love and death unfolding before you” said Cupples.

So the fittingly titled ‘Love & Death’ begins with a subtle tabla backbone for ‘Machines Love’ as the expanding club-infused feel penetrated by trancey strings provides a sombre-toned dance tune. As the title suggests, ‘Gangsta’ exudes a grittier indie wah-wah funk while ‘We Are In Motion’ extends the electro-groove before concluding with PET SHOP BOYS styled atmospherics. ‘Don’t Delete Me’ thpugh crosses ‘Floatation’ by THE GRID with the dizzy buzz of ‘Summer Madness’ by KOOL & THE GANG yet deals with the fatalistic prospect of the ultimate deletion…

The downtempo vibe of ‘Missing You’ contrasts with the propulsive triplet driven Bowie-referencing ‘Hello Spacegirl’ which makes a sparkling indie disco floor filler. Meanwhile, a sinister trip-hop flavour is the order of the day with the stark ‘Weirds Me Out’ as the haunting piano piece ‘No Poems’ does not brighten the mood much either.

But saving the best until last, ‘We Are Millions’ is a slice of electronic pop that Tennant and Lowe would be proud of and acts as a call to action in uniting the world to finish ‘Love & Death’ on a more positive note.

Not a cheerful affair by any means but very real, this collection of heavy electronic prog will not be for everyone, especially those seeking escapism, but ‘Love & Death’ will provoke deep thought that captures these uncertain and heavy times.

‘Love & Death’ is released by LO-TEK and available from https://h2so41.bandcamp.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
23rd July 2021