post punk jazz reggae lounge music…for your pleasure…

“Yelling Boil” is the new album from Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers. I have been sent a preview copy so I am not sure when it is out, as soon as I find out I will post a link.

As is usual with their albums there are a lot of tracks – 25 in this instance – and a wide variety of music. As one of my favourite bands of last year, I have been waiting expectantly to hear where they were going next with their excellent music.

Their debut album “Mind Carved Canoe” was stunning, and this is just as good, in fact it’s  better. The duo of Dave Bromwich and Ian Harber are not afraid to take chances and go to places where other musicians will not go.

And the successful formula of the longer 3 to 4 minute tracks interspersed with small 1 minute-ish vignettes is used again. This all adds up to a wonderfully entertaining listening experience. And they’ve gone a bit jazzy and a bit reggae this time round as well.

The album kicks off with a statement of intent with the engaging and very clever “Black Eyed Baby” which merges a great ska feel with heavy guitars. The first of the vignettes is “Cliques are for Geeks” which is built around some elegaic guitar playing echoing early Genesis but merged with the unique alternative styles of this duo.The twangy Ennio Morricone guitars of “Spaghetti Western Rhapsody” are counterbalanced with a manic dub beat and Dave at his ranting best opining on everything thing from Nicorette Inhalators, tooth decay, to western films.

“Fun 2 B Around” appears to be partly autobiographical dealing with toast and the work ethic. The manic interaction of various musical styles and tempos is infectious – as the tune moves from pointillistic electronica to jazzy piano. “Fantasy Housing” is a small piece of lounge music which leads into the rub-a-dub riddims of the marvellous “Mitford’s Monte Carlo Dive” – somehow managing to meld a post-punk ethic with a Studio One sensibility. Similarly “Three Bags Full” skanks along nicely with a submarine bass underpinning rasping guitar.  Listeners to my radio show will be aware of “Juggernaut” which Dave brought in as a session track last year. Slightly re-recorded this is a pop perfect piece of ska where Dave’s excellent voice comes into its own – the chittering percussion is excellent and the sounds floating in and out and across the mix are wonderfully realised. “Play A Little Game” is plain scary, progressive and riff ridden it reminds me of the Residents and Pere Ubu in many respects – but it’s better than them.

The  mutant lounge sound is revisited with the mysterious “Looking through the Ten Zees” which is extremely busy and full of ideas and imagery, whereas the eerie sound of “Classical Orange Musak” is baleful and fascinating in equal measures. Half way through the album with “Eternity Knocks” and the emphasis shifts….. “there’s a guy works down the curry house who claims he’s murdered God” is a stand out line and Hughie Green gets a mention as well…..this is pop music Jim but not as we know it. Dave and Ian take the tropes and well known elements of popular music and convert them  into something unique and interesting.  “Put your best foot forward” has a great melodic feel, far too short for my liking, I would have liked to hear a lot more of this tune. Another of last years session tracks “Costa Del Fridge” offers a jazzy take on the failure of household appliances,  and footwear – whereas “They come into my garden” ups the scariness level with a palpable sense of fear transmitted through the music.

“Protection” is a highlight with Dave in James Jewel Osterburg mode over a rolling para ska blues – whereas “So Safe” feels like it might make a great Eurovision song in a parallel world where decent music is enjoyed by the great mass of humanity.  Great hook and leaves you wanting more. “Murder By Chocolate” is another special song with a brutal bass riff and fast paced rhythm which morphs into something a little slower in a middle section. The joys of adolescent facial examination are covered in “The Acne Has Landed” which plays with strange rhythms and has some great lines – there is some marvellous wah-wah guitar from Ian – you won’t hear music or lyrics like this anywhere else!

The last five tunes are some of  the best on the album – “Here Comes the Cavalry” is signature FFD&TLP – intense beats and vocalisations taking the music almost in an EBM direction – anyone who challenges the reason for the success of Gok Wan in a song is OK with me. “Room With A Vision” plays with your head with its quirky time signature, and “Pedantic Love” continues the theme of reggae rhythms as Dave quotes Shakespeare. “Shipmate” is just plain beautiful with a folky feel and again far too short – stunning guitar from Harber, and Bromwich at his best vocally. Matters conclude with the bass heavy “A World that Welcomes Wrong” and there appears to be some saxophone on the track – not sure who is playing that, i’ll have to ask.

I know Dave is a big movie fan and I think somehow his appreciation of the broad canvas of cinema has travelled into the music on this the second album. As I say you are not going to hear anything like this anywhere else – it bucks trends and fashions and simply stands on its own, and alone, as a statement of intent. And it holds it own in terms of content. I would much rather listen to this than the dire run of cloned pop that is floating around at the moment.

Brilliant! They’ve passed the difficult second album test with some ease…….

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