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MODERN LOVE label releases... /////////////// The Stranger - Watching Dead Empires In Decay It's been five long years since Leyland Kirby has released anything as the Stranger, but the wait has been worth it, as his new album for the always-stellar Modern Love imprint pulls no punches. Watching Dead Empires in Decay casts Kirby's trademark clouds of unsettled spectral ambience anchored by a more kinetic pulse; nearly every track here is pushed forward by layers of slowly creeping, pulsating tribal pulsations crafted on what seems like funeral drums and abandoned scrap metal. In fact, most of the sonic source material on the album sounds crafted from percussion of all sorts; as such, it's perhaps one of the most simultaneously visceral and eerie records of Kirby's career, and provides a lovely counterpoint to the more romantic explorations of melancholy undertaken via his Caretaker albums. There's little to no remorse to be found on Watching Dead Empires; instead, the listener is left fending for themselves in a desolate, treacherous landscape that seems as though it has taken on a life (or afterlife) of its own, devouring any and all who dare to enter it. Whether you dig the haunted spectrality of Kirby's past works, or are more of an industrial/cold wave fiend who needs some fresh klang and boom in their diet, this album fully delivers, and is arguably one of Kirby's best, under any of his many pseudonyms.