As urgent and tense as a hunting knife pressed to a quickening jugular, The Kicking Mule presents ten intimate vignettes about self-sabotage, visiting themes like battling mental illness, addiction, alienation and more across ten new tracks. Though primarily known as masters of cacophonous samples and jittery electronic stutter, post-punk duo Street Sects’ forthcoming sophomore album represents a seismic shift in execution by applying those ideas to that of the romantic yet experimental approach of Roxy Music / Brian Eno as well as Berlin-era Bowie. Take for example how “Something I Can Never Have” fits on Pretty Hate Machine—a section of serenity within a blanket of attack. Vocalist Leo Ashline and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth use pulsating tension, melodic vocals and deliberate space, keeping their assault on the senses measured and intentional. Featuring album art by renowned illustrator Francesco Francavilla and the title inspired by Elton John’s track “Ticking,” the duo pairs neo-noir aesthetic with aching lyricism, recalling scenes of fear, loss, crime and desperation Street Sects formed in 2013 after Ashline emerged from the fog of a thirteen year battle with addiction and began to collaborate with friend Ringsmuth. The duo embraced the ethos and aggression of punk rock, and the experimental attitude and disillusionment of early industrial music to create a sound unique to them alone. The band has earned a reputation for their confrontational, sensory deprived fog-drenched live performances.