Stop The Panic

"It's a little different from what we normally do," warns the intro amiably....

“It’s a little different from what we normally do,” warns the intro amiably. Well, yes and no. In the blue corner, there’s Cornwall’s second cleverest son, [a]Luke Vibert[/a], aka [a]Plug[/a], aka [a]Wagon Christ[/a], envelope-busting breakbeater. In the red shorts, BJ Cole, renowned steel guitar player whose collaboration CV (from Richard Ashcroft to The Wombles) reads like a history of late-20th-century popular music; a figure possibly more hip op than hip-hop. Chalk, meet cheese. Let’s not keep it clean.

For all the unlikelihood of this congress of gear whore and man of steel, however, confounding expectations is what these men [I]do[/I]. Which is why their bastard offspring – fashioned of beats, liquid guitar, little black boxes and big band swing – is no messy lounge-floor abortion. Rather, the title track is a block party in the Hawaiian hood, festooned with salsa rattles and skilful keys; ‘This Stuff Is Fresh’ follows up with loping loops, jazz-dusted cool and dissonant undertow.

Such eclecticism, though, often means serious goatee-tugging. ‘…Panic’, despite its good humour, is no exception. For all the skills on display, some of these experiments in exotica end up clanging emptily, despite being crammed full of sounds.

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