Paul Vickers is drunk. His coat is on inside out, and he is muttering like an emotional magician. Yet what he says is the truth. “Welcome to our world of mystery and mayhem,” he mutters, preparing us perfectly for what’s to follow.
Where drunkenness, in the case of most bands, would see a descent into tragedy, with [a]Dawn Of The Replicants[/a] it only adds to proceedings. From the early rhythmical looping of ‘Cocaine On The Catwalk’ and ‘Lisa Box’ to the more recent New Wave Dalek noises of ‘Big Hefty Hounds’, they’re fast becoming indispensable British eccentrics – their inscrutable omens and portents making them vague fellow travellers of Super Furry Animals and The Beta Band.
They also owe a great deal to The Fall, skewering guitars at will, while Vickers jabbers in strange tongues about anything from the Marie Celeste to the joys of motorcycling. Yet for a collage of sounds, it’s rarely as chaotic as an initial listen would suggest. What’s more – as with the wash of phased psychedelia and blissed-out calm of ‘Science Fiction Freak’ – it’s also frequently breathtaking.
Like trying to hammer an irregular peg into a square hole, their mission to pervert music continues. Always urgent, seldom straightforward, their mystery and mayhem go hand in hand.