The Egg, I thought, and suddenly I'm imagining that favourite moment when the yellow yolk rolls out of the top of your boiled egg and you catch it with a golden, buttered toast soldier... leasurely breakfasts, steaming mugs of sugary tea, Sunday morning sunlight pouring through the open slatted blinds. The subconscious imagery was too much for my brain to take - I was ready and poised to like this record.
It's hard to imagine what an egg might sound like if was music. Thousands of unborn chicks screeching their disapproval perhaps? The cluck-cluck of unnumbered generations of disgruntled mother hens? Or it could sound like this, if you were to sanitise the chicken concentration camp/egg-theft predator horror and stick to the yummy yellow scrambled-on-toast image. Scrambled eggs on toast. With COFFEE*.
In the centre of the coffee table is where we find '/Forwards'. It's a slick, glossy production that brings to mind a bit of Goldfrapp's slinky pop, a touch of M83's reverb & warmth and a generous dash of Royksopp-style holiday programme soundtrack. Electronic shoegaze? Perhaps. Or post-trip-hop "chill out" ambient? That sounds more like it. Not that I'm one to pigeonhole of course**.
Ultimately this isn't much more than accomplished mood music. It's lush and rich, and there isn't a single raw edge to be found. They wheel out every cliche in the book - from the up-tempo dancefloor number to the Moby-esque "soulful" sampled gospel-style vocal sections. There is an awful saxophone solo, complete with jazz-club reverb, and a barely noticeable guest performance from Sophie Barker of Zero 7. And bongos. Maybe the post-"Play" Moby audience is who this is aimed at. But for all the pretty, swooning synth washes and warm production, I'm left feeling completely cold: I need to go and listen to something produced by Steve Albini to shake off this sickly haze.
(*these links just get better and better...)
(**he says, as he rams the pigeon into the hole.)
4John Brainlove's Score