John Foxx And The Maths have returned with a new line-up for their 5th studio album, Howl, the followup to 2017’s The Machine, a, for the most part, instrumental record originally conceived as the live soundtrack to Neil Duffield’s stage adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Speaks.”
The Maths are a music collective centered around Foxx and analog synth wizard Ben Edwards, better known as Benge. The project sees Foxx returning to much of the early, synth-driven roots that defined his early career, and on this latest album, Foxx has also enlisted former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon to join him, Benge, and Hannah Peel, after Simon previously guested with The Maths at their debut Roundhouse show in 2010.
“For years, I’d wanted to work with Robin Simon again,’ says Foxx. ‘There’s something central about what he does – and I always miss it, no matter who I work with. It’s what Rob can do with a song, and with the sheer power of sound.”
Work on Howl began back in April 2019 at Benge’s Memetune studios in Cornwall with Rob Simon involved right from the start, his contributions instantly mutating the original ideas into something new. ‘Give him a song and he’ll give you three takes – all utterly different incarnations,’ enthuses Foxx who first worked with Simon on Ultravox’s Systems Of Romance album in 1978. ‘And it will all be much better. Demolition intercision is what he does and when you get used to the violence he can wreak, it’s a true delight.’
On the sinister “Tarzan and Jane Regained” Foxx feverishly channels an almost Bryan Ferry-meets-Batcave-like-croon, augmented by sinister synths highlight a dark twitching glamour whose permutations showcase some of the most striking lyrics and vocals that Foxx has ever conjured up has during his decades-long career.