THIS REVIEW was originally submitted to Clash magazine, but didn’t make the press, probably cos of its ferocity. For what it’s worth, Si – we do like your stuff, but this does not a good album make.
Si turns his back on bad album review
Si Begg, one of those “ground-breaking”, “genre-defying”, “un-pigeon-hole-able” electronica blokes from the late ‘90s, has been roped in to producing this “LOL! R3tr0-chiptune no1zes!!” affair for the mobile game-app ‘Guts’. The futile marketing exercise of releasing this as a physical soundtrack might not have been Begg’s idea (no doubt he knocked it out in an afternoon to help pay for the winter heating – nice work if you can get it etc.) but why would anyone in their right mind feel we needed to hear this crap outside of a gaming context? There’s zero amusement to be gained from these Amiga squirgles and Tetris-block bleeps – not just because the faux 8-bit thing has been done and redone to better effect on countless occasions – but also because the music itself is about as welcome as toothache.
words by Charlie Frame
Whitest Boy Alive
Erlend Øye’s Whitest Boy Alive may sound like the worst band name to surface in recent years, but the self-deprecatory moniker seems somehow apt when listening to this album. A laidback funk album made by a skinny bespectacled Norwegian and his band just seems plain wrong, especially when nasty comparisons to Jamiroquai or the Lighthouse Family could be made. But there’s something so right about “Rules” that any hideous references to dodgy goatees and oversized furry hats go right out the window. Yes, it’s white funk with a faintly ‘90s feel, but WBA play a hip, stripped-down style that transcends MOR easy listening and makes with the great tunes. Øye’s distinctive, breezy vocal works just as well here as it did on the acoustic folk of Kings Of Convenience and his work with Royksopp, while the rest of the band back him up with only the barest of disco-influenced instrumentation. A downtempo classic, because even hipsters need to chill from time to time.
Best Songs: “Keep A Secret”, “1517”, “Intentions”
How about these? – Nightmares On Wax, Prinzhorn Dance School, Josef K
Who Made Who
It’s a shame that one of the best groups to come out of the early-noughties discopunk movement never received the same kind of acclaim as their peers. Who Made Who’s eponymous 2005 debut swam down a similar stream as that of The Rapture, !!! and LCD Soundsystem, but rather than simply fusing clunky late-‘70s post punk with modern house, the Danish group also incorporated elements of Bowie, ELO and classic disco hits to give a rounder, more mature, polished sound to that of their contemporaries. If anything “The Plot” takes this as a template and runs with it. While their influences are rooted firmly in the past it sounds anything but retro. Hopefully this time round they’ll get the praise they deserve because this is a modern disco corker.
How about these? – LCD Soundsystem, Out Hud, Of Montreal
by Charlie Frame