Never say never again
I was a bit wary of this latest album from the New York-based collective due to reports of cheesy female vocals being added into the mix. In fact, this album is a distinct and largely successful departure from the STREET DAD template, stripping away the post-rock inflections in favour of ESG-vocals and No Wave artful funkiness. It takes a couple of listens to get into the groove but tracks like opener, ‘Its For You’ and ‘How Long’ build from deceptively simplistic components into danceable but soulful electro-tinged pop. The lyrics are less important than the texture of the vocals – often chant-like – weaving in and out of the mix, intertwining with lean, catchy, New Order guitar hooks and gleaming synths. In fact, the album’s less successful tracks are those that veer closer to the instrumental template, with the 11-minute plus ‘Dear Mr Bush…’ failing to live up to STREET DAD’s acid monster of similar length and ’2005: A Face Odyssey’ and ‘The Song So Good They Named It Thrice’ suffering from stop-start indecisiveness and a feeling of over-familiarity. Where tracks on their last album tended towards deconstruction, ‘Old Nude’ evolves from industrial dubbiness into infectious poppiness. Although there is similar (lesser, in my view) stuff happening on DFA, other contemporary comparisons might be Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry or Herbert co-hort Dani Siciliano’s solo work, but it largely feels outside the recent all-conquering trends from their native NYC – and all the better for it!