Forming Crackdown in 2015 and releasing several singles and EPs since, Kim Holm and Lasse Mønsted Jensen both have a solid history in the Danish electro scene to cultivate for Worn Out Alphabet. Throughout these nine tracks, the duo presents a breathy electronic formula that strikes somewhere between the cold and dark ambience of industrial and the melodic radiance of synthpop – it’s a very singular blend that gives Crackdown a unique personality, but at times feels a touch schizophrenic. For instance, the steely tone of the bouncing synth bass of “Words of Happiness” bears a brooding yet upbeat atmosphere that feels like a marriage of Skinny Puppy’s “Smothered Hope” with any song off of Depeche Mode’s Construction Time Again. These bass tones permeate Worn Out Alphabet, complemented in songs like “Magazine,” “Sunken Cheeks,” and “Move On” by entrancing arpeggios and icy layers of pads that persist from start to finish, eventually losing their potency by the latter track. This is until “Red Light” introduces a sublime gated effect along with choir/chant samples to provide a hymnal quality that feels right out of cEvin Key’s tonal playbook, albeit with a cleaner production sheen. All the while, Jensen’s disaffected and slightly robotic voice is all too reminiscent of Jean-Luc de Meyer, with Emily Robot Conlon adding an eerily lithe and harmonious accompaniment in “Thrive in Your Mess” and “Subsides.” That latter track, in fact, serves as one of the record’s most enchanting entries, the thunderous percussive hits, rhythmic bass pulses, and scratches of guitar adding to the anticipation and intensity evoked by the reverberant pianos and the guttural vocal contrast, leaving the Enigma-esque “High Noon” to conclude Worn Out Alphabet with swells of choral voices, croaking bass, and slithery, bellowing effects that wax and wane atop an insistent bass drone and a light keyboard refrain. Mixed by Holm and mastered by and Justin Bennett of kETvECTOR and :Bahntier// (with Bennett’s presence also serving as another tangential connection to Skinny Puppy), Worn Out Alphabet does present a nuanced merging of styles, and Crackdown’s roots in the foundations of underground electro and industrial are on full display. Although not entirely derivative, one hopes that Holm and Jensen can in time more firmly establish this sound into something more powerful and distinguished.