It’s 16 years since the Avalanches’ era-defining ‘Since I Left You’. How can a follow-up that took so long sound so meh?
Cooper Temple Clause : Kick Up The Fire, And Let The Flames Break Loose
Really, you wouldn’t be surprised if there was an absolutely awesome rubber chicken solo on here somewhere...
’s ‘difficult’ second album reads like David Cronenberg’s grossest script yet, the story of a band diving feverishly off the rails, over the edge, into the abyss; leaping from the slavering jaws of rock’n’roll that are currently chewing Libertines limb from limb, sporting a few scars on the gut and a fantastic new blueprint.
Difficult second album? Did we say difficult second album(I)? Ah no, this was a piece of piss. Cooper Temple Clause just loosened the pressure valves and out plumed the most brilliantly ambitious record of the year. Every bout of drunken paranoia, every poisoned industry handshake, every beep of the cardiac monitor and every ecstatic roar of every shagged-to-the-max crowd of the last two years is here, crammed into a record as wild, vibrant and eclectic as
Super Furry Animals’ ‘Guerilla’ or Cooper Temple Clause’s forgotten masterpiece ‘Six’, yet far more coherent than both. A record that laughs in the face of ‘genre’, taps the wrong shoulder of ‘pigeonhole’ and ties together the shoelaces of ‘expectation’. A record, we’ll say it again, like Radiohead think they make.
The fire being kicked is the low-burning experimentation of Cooper Temple Clause’s 2002 debut album ‘See This Through And Leave’, the flames set loose are scorching. It’s all there in the megalithic tech-rock of ‘Written Apologies’ - the album’s nine-minute finale - which begins as a maudlin latino-jazz lament dedicated to the Reading "boys" they left behind and then turns into a blaze-forward through their wildest night on the town - a stomping Zeprock chorus before a four-minute psycho techno joyride through a dozen video arcades on crystal meth.
Not beserk enough? How about ‘Talking To A Brick Wall’ zig-zagging between Parisian 'Get Carter' harpsichord and Belzebub’s own Powerchords Of Brimstone? ‘Into My Arms’ coming on like swoozy Spiritualized, right down to the devastated harmonica hanging itself in the background, before suddenly morphing into the sound of Atari Teenage Riot being fed into an industrial mincer for two minutes? Really, you wouldn’t be surprised if there was an absolutely awesome rubber chicken solo on here somewhere.
Hopping so recklessly between techno, indietronica, rock, jazz, thrash, zither-folk, the incidental tribe music from 'Zulu' and Egyptian laptop glitch-metal (thank you ‘Music Box’), ‘Kick Up The Fire...’ should be about as unified as an NME editorial meeting about[a][/a]. But this is Team Cooper’s Tune Album and each of these sprawling musical chameleons - not just the obvious hits like the Muse-esque anti-industry anthem ‘Promises, Promises’ and the touching relationship-as-aeroplane metaphor ‘Blind Pilots’ - are bolted through with a melodic nous that ‘See This Through…’ was too busy shouting to bother with. It’s no accident that ‘Kick Up The Fire…’ comes so - ahem - hot on the heels ofMuse’s ‘Absolution’ andSuper Furry Animals’s ‘Phantom Power’: here’s a new phase of bands takingRadiohead’s fuzzy guiding light and making their mayhem magnificent.
Kick up the fire? Hell, this is already an inferno.
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