Inform – Educate – Entertain
Test Card Recordings/Redeye Label
As I said when reviewing the band’s earlier EP it’s easy to imagine this as some common ground between Ratatat and The Books – and with this full-length release, the title spelling out the band’s maxim via its use of interview and documentary soundbites, the sound continues, the evocation of a Britain from the past. In that sense, and married to rock-solid drumming and piercing guitar and keyboard textures, J Willgoose Esq and Wrigglesworth are subversively political in their intent and approach.
They are also making thinking person’s dance music – you could almost call this the British Kraftwerk too in that the melody is so clearly defined/decided by the rhythm – in fact, in many cases the melody is the rhythm and/or vice versa.
Not included on the earlier EP but here now on the long-play the single Everest might, in particular, appeal to New Zealand fans, what with the recent anniversary.
You have to wonder if the duo saw Paul Hardcastle as an inspiration. If so they play it – as they do the music on the album – po-faced.
But there’s something in this – it’s hypnotic and washes over you and though the interview and speech snippets are, arguably, centre-stage it is never at the expense of the soundtracks this duo has created to recontextualise them. It’s as much an art-project as it is a band, as much audio-collage as album but it’s just mad enough – and yet straight-seeming enough – to work. Fuck, you could probably even see some people dancing to it.
Willgoose and Wrigglesworth might hide behind silly names but they’re not in helmets (Daft Punk) nor behind tables in Tron outfits (Kraftwerk); they are – when you see them – just a two-piece rock duo. A very smart one. And I find this album, as was the case with the earlier EP, hypnotic, propulsive, powerful, addictive. Definitely worth checking out.