Monday, December 03, 2007

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2007: Number 28

You'll never get all those lines to match up

It's been a strong year for single-minded solo artists - in cases such as this, one hesitates to use the term 'singer-songwriters' - and Monster Bobby has been around longer than most. Having been the mainspring behind Totally Bored, the club venture that gave springboards to the British Sea Power/Electric Soft Parade/Brakes/80s Matchbox first wave of this decade's Brighton-based achievers, he's best known as guitarist and "concept technician" behind the Pipettes. Tellingly, that band's name is conspicuous by its absence from the label site, press release, press interview and sleevenotes of Bobby's debut album Gaps - not that there's no element of pure pop manoevures in Gaps' DNA, it's just that such comparisons only serve to throw off the scent of such bedroom recorded crackpot invention.

One thing is does have is ADD. 17 tracks in 32 minutes, including the three minute total of the ambient opener and static-laden closer; ideas cut off well before the usual song structure has elapsed, others smothered under samples or digital distortion, fragile acoustic-led songs ripped open by effects straight from the BBC Radiohonic Workshop. It's not much more radio friendly when decodable - The Closest Experience To That Of Being With You Is The Experience of Taking Drugs is the Field Mice working with Animal Collective, quite apart from being given that title - but it has a heart often missing from such sonic throwing ideas at a wall. Beyond The Reach Of Arms and I Heard You Moved Away are dreamy lovelorn vignettes where loops and actual horns boost rather than take over, Bedtime Baby would be a highlight of any Magnetic Fields album and Last Stop All Change invokes both the Postal Service and annoying train journeys. It's this often emotional insight leavened with humour (not least the phobia rockabilly of Let's Check Into A Hospital Together, or the album being labelled for WMP under the genre 'Comedy') and at its basest level being in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing with this sampling technology that stops this from just being a wilfully misleading stylistic experiment a la Max Tundra and ensures it makes a connection.

LISTEN ON: Beyond The Reach Of Arms
WATCH ON: Let's Check Into A Hospital Together (live)


My favourite album of 2007 is...

Monster Bobby: "Either the Bonde Do Role album or the Robyn album but I can't remember what either of therm are called. (With Lasers and Robyn respectively - Ed.) Probably Bonde Do Role. In fact this year has really been all about Brazilian music for me - getting really into tropicalia, the Souljazz postpunk comps, still loving lots of bossa nova and baile funk, bumping into CSS and Bonde Do Role at just about every summer festival in the world..."

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