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in nostalgic dalliance: all come-hither bass-lines, yearning keyboards and sensual crooning. (Nicola Meighan) KRAUTROCK FAUST Faust Is Last (Klangbad) ●●●●●

unintelligible screeches and shimmering synths. Sadder, more aggressive and infinitely more beautiful still we didn’t think it possible. (Camilla Pia) WORLD CHANGO SPASIUK The Very Best of El Chango Nascente ●●●●●

Chango Spasiuk hails from northern Argentina, and his gorgeous chamamé music proves there is more to his country than tango. Think small villages, days working in the fields, then beer and dancing under a straw roof, to swinging sounds that fuse European polkas with indigenous and Spanish styles. This retrospective album embraces all his great compositions, alongside previously unreleased tracks and ‘Solo para mí’, a pearl sung by the late great Mercedes Sosa. (Jan Fairley)

ROCK/ COUNTRY THE BACON BROTHERS New Year’s Day (Hypertension) ●●●●●

Featuring anaemic white reggae, vapid soul and decrepit grandad rock, there’s barely a track on Michael and Kevin Bacon’s fourth (yes, fourth) LP that doesn’t leave you feeling bored or furious. Because they played music as kids and have been taking it ‘seriously’ since 1995, we’re not meant to view this as a vanity project. Whatever you call New Year’s Day, the only reason you won’t be chucking it across your room is that you’re likely to have fallen into a deep slumber by track four. (Brian Donaldson)

This first, and possibly last, studio album in a decade by Germany’s agit-hippy Kosmische collective is not the same version of Faust currently on tour led by Jean-Herve Peron and Werner Diermaier. This is third founder member Hans Joachim Irmler’s incarnation. Not that there’s much difference between the two co- existing combos. Like a multi-headed hydra, this sprawling 22-track set squares the circle begun with Faust’s ‘71 debut, a similarly oppositional stew of motorik metal and strung-out scratch- dub overloaded with insistent mood swings that turn from ambient sweetness to pounding industrialism mid-bar. Only the concrete mixers are missing. (Neil Cooper) ELECTRO CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles (FICTION) ●●●●●

Things are never simple with this Toronto duo. For a start, the follow-up to their 2008 debut has the same title (causing plenty iTunes bother), and they have recorded the album in a variety of environments, including an abandoned shop in Detroit, a self-built cabin in Ontario and a church in Iceland not exactly your standard studios, then. Sonically too, they confound as ever; taking their noisenik electro to new extremes with thumping beats,

ALSO RELEASED Hole Nobody’s Daughter (Mercury) ●●●●● Evenly divided between the scuzzy rock of old and some cleaner, almost acoustic material. A solid album, but lacking the energy required to make an impact after a decade away. 80s Matchbox B- Line Disaster Blood and Fire (Black) ●●●●● More raucous morgue-punk from The Damned-inspired Brighton five-piece just don’t make us wait six years for the next one, eh boys? Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three Riverboat Soul (Free Dirt) ●●●●● Traditional Deep South standards sit well beside original material in an ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’-style setting. Jamie Lidell Compass (Warp) ●●●●● This collection of bizarro-funk tracks have Beck’s sticky production fingerprints all over it, but Lidell seems a bit too eager to appear eclectic, with none of the genius of the big man’s own work here. Hjaltalin Terminal (Cargo) ●●●●● Orchestral Latino mariachi-pop and that’s just track one. Wonderfully diverse and bewildering, and produced by Edinburgh-based Icelander Benni Hemm Hemm, this sounds like the soundtrack to an intriguing foreign film you are unlikely to understand. When The Clouds The Longed-for Season (Drifting Falling) ●●●●● The atmopsheric solo electro-acoustic EP from Italian Francesco Galano makes a brave stab at Sigur Ros-style instrumental beauty, but lacks their imagination and restraint. (Niki Boyle)

13–27 May 2010 THE LIST 65

ELECTRONICA LCD SOUNDSYSTEM This is Happening (Parlophone) ●●●●●

The cover art of LCD Soundsystem’s third (and seemingly final) album speaks volumes. It’s a striking, iconographic hybrid of David Bowie’s swaggering icon on Lodger (the final dispatch in his Eno-heavy Berlin trilogy); and Bryan Ferry’s debonair coxcomb on solo missive The Bride Stripped Bare (released in Roxy Music’s late 70s hiatus: during their transition, that is, from art-rock dandies to MOR philanderers).

It is fair to assume that neither of these visual cues is accidental. LCD Soundsystem envoy James Murphy has long scrutinised 70s subculture (post-punk, disco, glam, krautrock) and applied its vital elements to his visionary take on electronic music. From Bowie, Roxy and Talking Heads via acid-house, indie-rock, techno and hipster theory, LCD Soundsystem have dominated dance-floors, festivals and record crates for nigh-on a decade. But Murphy is now at a turning point: calling time on his band through

this final instalment in the LCD Soundsystem trilogy; caught between club-land and plaintive balladry (if his recent, folksy soundtrack for the film Greenberg is anything to go by). This is Happening features some great tracks, of course: creeping synth wig-out ‘Dance Yrself Clean’; acid-fired new-wave chant ‘One Touch’; dance-rock serenade ‘Home’; minimal disco monologue ‘Pow Pow’ the latter of which is a lesser variation on their 2002 magnum opus, and modus operandi, ‘Losing My Edge’. But the album is heavy with electro contempt (‘You Wanted a Hit’), Bowie/Eno pastiches (‘All I Want’), and simmering misanthropy (the fairly unbearable ‘Drunk Girls’). On balance, perhaps Murphy is wise to move on. (Nicola Meighan)

Gayngs is truly smooth and seductive to the point of comedy. Produced by Ryan

Olson and starring Bon Iver, Solid Gold, The Rosebuds and Megafaun plus rappers P.O.S. and Dessa Relayted takes 10cc’s ‘I’m Not in Love’ as its carnal paradigm, then eases in the likes of Stevie Winwood, Dire Straits, Bone Thugs-n- Harmony and Boyz II Men. It’s a masterwork

POP JEN OLIVE Warm Robot (Ape) ●●●●● Putting the quirky into Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Jen Olive creates delightfully skewed folk-pop that matches Marina Diamandis robot for robot and has hooks to spare. A typical track takes a hypnotically repeated acoustic guitar, layers it with gorgeous vocal harmonies (somewhere between

Liz Fraser and Björk) before breaking into a chorus so catchy you’ll forget most music ain’t made this way. Self- recorded with extra percussive additions by XTC’s Andy Partridge, himself no slouch in the offbeat pop department, Warm Robot ranges from melt-in-the-mouth indecision on ‘Pieces’ to tender heartbreak on ‘Here I Go’. Quite, quite lovely. (Mark Fisher) www.ape.uk.net INDIE POP GAYNGS Relayted (Jagjaguwar) ●●●●●

If this record was human you’d be on your back by now. The debut release from 25-strong US indie supergroup