Second Layer - World Of Rubber

Second Layer
World Of Rubber

Released 1981 on Cherry Red
Reviewed by Lawrence, 02/09/2005ce

Well I might as well review another record of Adrian Borland's. Second Layer was an experimental project inbetween Borland's previous punk band the Outsiders and the formation of the Sound later. The debut ep "Courts Or Wars" was minimalist punk with a drum machine whereas the later "State Of Emergency" ep was pure discordant noise. World Of Rubber has to be the grimmest album Borland ever involved himself in. Heavy-metallish guitars, Suicide-style machine rhythm and ugly, grayish tones from an ARP synth sums up what you get here.

The opener "Definition Of Honor" is an incendiary anti-war song that gives you images of Goya or Hieronymus Bosch. "The definition of honor is that hole in the side of your head..." "In Bits" just makes me think that's what the vast emptyness of extreme alienation must be like, with that devastating attack of feedback concluding it. "Save Our Souls" is the most melodic but still pretty grim even by Borland's usual standards... Y'know it's funny that his lyrics in the Sound did have a great sense of hope to them, which isn't evident here.

What opens side two is a dubbish track ominously titled "Underneath The Gloss", which is enough to make your spine squirm and wonder if you're as sane as you think you are! "Zero" has a monolithic doomsday riff but then the whole track abruptly slows to a frightening crawl... "Japanese Headset" might be about brainwashing or torture -- Borland torments like a Spanish Inquisitor while another voice screams in a background of a cheap electronic rhythm. "Black Flowers" is one of the most funereal closing tracks I've ever heard, with a simplistic drum pattern, detuned bass and dissonant washes of either synth or organ (I'm thinking the former...) Make sure yr Sound (lol!) in mind whilst acquiring this. (Someone should push to have this in a remastered CD format BTW...)

Update: It's now reissued on CD, so look for it.

Reviews Index