Cibo Matto released two albums in the 1990s and then broke up. Sean Lennon was, briefly, a member of the group. And though there’s an obvious hipster appeal here, like a, erm, slowed down Chicks on Speed, it’s nice to have Cibo Matto back – back with their third full-lengther, a concept album (loosely) that even references the ideas around a “comeback” of sorts. But don’t worry, you don’t have to absorb the meta-ness of it all to just get on board with quirky, hooky pop songs from an alternate reality.
It sounds, at times, like M.I.A. reworking Yoko Ono. It sounds, at times, like Bjork’s Sugarcubes work being remixed, reworked, reinterpreted. And there’s funky-weird Prince moments (Lobby) alongside sweet pop balladry that is reminiscent of Mono (that’s the Life In Mono Mono, not the Japanese post-rock noise makers Mono) on Empty Pool. Elsewhere, Housekeeping is like a subdued rap from Spank Rock – should such a thing ever exist.
It’s only 38 minutes long but it’s bursting with ideas. Right from the quirky beats of Check In, and its big, splashy, happy-sounding chorus. There’s guest appearances from Wilco’s Nils Cline, his guitar work a highlight of Deja Vu and particularly MFN. His band mate Glenn Kotche is responsible for the album-closer’s languid, silky groove. And comedian/musician Reggie Watts provides vocals on Housekeeping and MFN. It was clearly a bit of a party vibe in the making of this record, and the end result is probably best suited for after-party, for the wee small hours after the big night out (or in). A fabulous set of sounds though, dynamic and full of great quirkiness. A lot to like here. And, it would see, a welcome return – not just a cash-in/gimmick.