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Rest Proof Clockwork

Forgive the dream logic for a moment, but listening to [B]'Rest Proof Clockwork'[/B] conjures up images of a sunny playroom filled with wind-up musical boxes, to the sound of which earnest and innocen

Forgive the dream logic for a moment, but listening to 'Rest Proof Clockwork' conjures up images of a sunny playroom filled with wind-up musical boxes, to the sound of which earnest and innocent men are trying to breakdance. It is both furiously modernist and strangely quaint; breakbeat electronica that's too ornate and eccentric to be remotely streetwise.



Put another way, Plaid's second album, superficially, is a bit like their labelmates Boards Of Canada, the most name-dropped and impersonated electronic band of the last year (even as far as the new Super Furry Animals). Ironically, though, it's the Boards who are actually in debt to Plaid; the duo's Ed Handley and Andy Turner prototyped this kind of intricate mutant-ambient as part of Black Dog Productions back in the early-'90s.



And a closer listen shows profound differences anyway. The spooky, cultish cosmology that underpins both the Black Dog and Boards Of Canada is absent. 'Rest Proof Clockwork' is more funhouse than haunted house; a music riddled with false turns and hidden traps that have been planted there out of mischief rather than menace.



So 'Dang Spots' and 'New Bass Hippo' are respectively a sort of avant-garde Teletubbies romp and a frisky burst of electro-exotica, all bleached Technicolor and faintly surreal beach holidays. Noises that may once have belonged to bagpipes, Theremins, Vini Reilly-style ripple guitars and gamelan orchestras flit through the 15 tracks, with only the odd moments of solemnity and clanking breaking the mood. Which is clever music for stupid summers, ridiculously: a joy.
7 / 10

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