Originally published: The Clash
In electronic terms, the idea that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is something of a misnomer in a genre that is constantly evolving, invigorating and creeping it’s way through the decades. Mark Baker is a classic example: first appearing on the scene in 1993 as one half of Lil’ Devious and Percy Filth, Baker is something of a seasoned professional to the circuit; yet, instead of being encased in the genre’s big fish, little fish, cardboard box nearsightedness, he moved on as with the ever maturing movement.
Tonight, he is the lead-singer and focal point of Burn The Negative’s synth-pop milieu. Visually striking in a red leather jacket, Baker’s mussed-up hair covers most of his face as he leans and lurches on the spot, breathing life and lyrics into the Carlisle-based four-piece’s dark compositions. Opening with ‘Wonder Why’ from their Abbey Road-produced debut album In The Atmosphere, the track builds and breaks with vibrant drum samples, inter-textual synths, and Baker’s Curtis-like croon. Full of hooks and aural allusions, their set sonically embraces their new romantic-cum-electronic endeavours. ‘Never Again’, ‘Simple Soul’, and forthcoming single ‘Smash And Grab’ from their new album How To Weigh The Human Soul are stuffed with influences. New Order, Japan, The Whip, Bowie circa the Berlin trilogy may have been unearthed to the point of being derivative, but what makes them stand out from being a pastiche of their obvious, androgynous disco beats is their melodic weight that resonates throughout their sound.