June 23rd, 2017 | Album reviews

Culture Cut

High Functioning Flesh may have one of the most unsettling band names in all of Los Angeles at the moment, but something about it makes the duo’s brand of gritty dance-y industrial and EBM-influenced electro-punk all the more alluring. The band’s most recent Culture Cut moves beyond the more angular lo-fi style of their first two records toward tones and sounds that are fuller and more polished but no less striking and sharp. From the first few seconds of curiously manipulated vocals, High Functioning Flesh grab the listener by the lapels and hold on tight. The beats are driving and energetic while vocalist Susan Subtract sounds as grave and guttural as ever. The result is an incredibly well produced, dark-as-midnight dance record that’s as chic as it is abrasive. High Functioning Flesh succeeds and then some at invoking a world of dimly lit clubs and dusky warehouses, black leather and heavy mascara, and sweaty dance floors powered by relentless beats. If they remade The Lost Boys and set it in the heart of L.A., you can bet Culture Cut would be coming through loud and clear on those vampires’ stereo.

—Simon Weedn