Cubik, one of their early commercial
release singles, inspired an army of mindless Belgian techno-riffs and
is brutal, ravey, repetitive and bordering on a few bpms too slow. This
track will always rate as an 808 State musical landmark but to my mind,
it cannot hope to compete with their gathering of softer, more melodic
Magical Dream is, perhaps, 808 State at their sublime, hypnotic, monotone ethereal pop best. Drifts of classic bubbling, warm synthery overlaid with an ever so slightly drowned out female voice, singing about dreams and mystical thoughts. An album highlight.
8080808? The essential pumping acid track, chock laden with spurious beats and chewy acid pulses. Any track that reminds me of the old days spent driving around listening to dreamy electronica can only be a good one.
Revenge of the Girlie Men is next, a smooth warm house number punctuated with loud and flamboyant riffs. It fits snugly into the wedge of its neighbouring cuts and conveys the 808 vibe effectively. Indeed, this is, perhaps one of their most '808 State-ish tracks' if that makes any sense at all.
Donkey Doctor? Never a favourite but still very 808... Busy, unobtrusive electronica, spilling out of the speakers. Never much for bass, the State pile on the treble and an average track is born.
Next, Sunrise, perhaps the most 'serious' cut of the collection is a slow, meandering piece, thick on the ambience and atmosphere. Worthwhile and, perhaps, quite unlike the 'typical' State output.
State to State... Jaunty, optimistic, effervescent, part-ravey. Typical 808.
The final two tracks are remixes of Pacific and both offer an interesting exploration of the track and a satisfying conclusion to the album.
United State 90 is, in many ways superior to it's baby brother 90 even though it's missing 90's throwaway last track 'The Fat Shadow', more a filler piece than a satisfying composition in its own right. Some might argue, however, that 90, because of its compact selection of songs is more 'sublime' or carries a more coherent, consistent sound.
Regardless, United State 90 has
just about all of them and more and consequently offers value for the dollar.
As is seemingly the case with most 808 State material, this album ranges from landmark through excellent to just plain sound.