WHITEHOUSE  The Sound Of Being Alive  CD   (Susan Lawly)   17.99

Here's an odd one: this new full-lengther is presented as a kind of "Best Of" package that focuses almost exclusively on the 2000s-era output from the highly influential UK power electronics group Whitehouse, charting their arc of anti-human lunacy and digital savagery from approximately 1998 through 2007. All of the material on Alive has been released before in one form or another, so it's of limited use to any longtime fans that already have all of the original releases. But if you're a newcomer to Whitehouse's noxious, spellbinding skree, this nearly seventy minute compilation will get you up to speed pretty quickly on the brand of mega-distorted synth-hate that the duo of William Bennett and Philip Best were spewing across that decade.

And as a primer for that partocularl period of the band's career, it works well; the twelve tracks are culled from a combination of 2003's Bird Seed, 2001's Cruise, 2006's Asceticists, 2007's Racket, and 1998's Mummy And Daddy, and include such hideuous post-millenial "hits" as "Wriggle Like A Fucking Eel", "A Cunt Like You" and "Why You Never Become A Dancer". By this point, their sound had mutated from the fairly simplistic early power electronics and excruciating feedback-hate of their early, 80's-era records into a heavier, more maniacal strain of noise, fusing their shrieking, transgressive rantings to a brutal squall of over-modulated electronics, blown-out tribal rhythms (an element that Bennett would later explore at further length with his Cut Hands project), and their two-pronged vocal assault that often tips over into unrestrained insanity. This is troubling and abrasive and confrontational extreme art, occasionally laced with moments of skin-crawling nightmarishness that appear on tracks like "Daddo" and "Philosophy".