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Despite his day job as drummer for the mighty[a]Bentley Rhythm Ace[/a], [B]Townshend's[/B] solo flirtations with large beats are less like mashed-up Brummie laff riots than Propellerheads-lite with a

Far In

Despite his day job as drummer for the mightyBentley Rhythm Ace, Townshend's solo flirtations with large beats are less like mashed-up Brummie laff riots than Propellerheads-lite with a side order of 'Super Discount'-style retro-Euro loungecore breeziness. His trademark style tends towards scuttling Toytown jungloid percussion clusters, seasoned with a light dousing of wilfully wiggy sounds which border on the zany but thankfully steer clear of obvious kitsch.

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It's a slight but convivial formula which Townshend spices up every three or four tracks with beatific reggae vocals ('I Have Seen The Light'), Mantovani strings ('Riviera') and Flat Eric-tinged acid-techno snurgling ('Boogie Too'). There are muted psychedelic whoops, rolling gospel pianos and clattering jazz drum fills incorporated at strategic points along this summery groove roller coaster, but nothing quite blunts the nagging sensation that you are hearing a soundtrack album compiled from Channel 5 sports shows. It's mostly pleasant, but mostly forgettable.

More intriguing noises, however, can be heard on the album's sister CD of bonus remixes, which is free to a limited number of fleet-footed buyers. From The All Seeing I's Star-Trek-goes-trip-hop take on 'Smash It' to the eerie rumblings of Depth Charge's magnificent demolition of 'Tasty Big Ed', this meaty collection adds a much-needed dark edge and funky clout to its overly whimsical source material. 6/10for the original album, 7/10 for the remixes.

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