Friday, April 4, 2008

Record Review: Neon Neon: Stainless Style

Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys and underground hip-hop producer Boom Bip team up under the moniker Neon Neon for their excellent debut collaboration.

Rating: 4.5/5

Gruff Rhys has been on a roll lately. And by lately I mean since about 1996. Someone needs to please, please wake up and acknowledge this man as one of the key songwriters of this generation.

After eight stellar Super Furry Animals albums and two solo affairs, the next step for Rhys was obvious- a collaboration with American hip-hop producer Boom Bip on a retro-electronic concept album about the life of John DeLorean. Okay, so maybe not so obvious, but Rhys has emerged with his best album since 2001’s Rings Around The World and perhaps the most effortlessly fun dance album this side of Midnight Vultures.

The concept is a loose one at best (but what isn’t in these days of faux concept albums?), but the songs themselves certainly hit the mark. “I Told Her On Alderaan” is a pitch-perfect homage to The Cars with Rhys trying to defend his faithfulness to Princess Leia (no joke.) “Raquel” would make current electronic maestro LCD Soundsystem jealous (although those backup vocals sound really ripped from The Flaming Lips), and “I Lust U” is my favorite song of the year, hands down, a synthed-up version of Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks.”

Even odd detours into hip-hop, though somewhat out of sync with the rest of the album, carry enough intrigue to keep your finger off the skip button. The album features several versatile cameos that pop up throughout the album, including everyone from rapper Yo Majesty to Strokes drummer Fab Moretti to Spank Rock, the last of whom appears on the indescribably cool “Trick for Treat.”

Now the first quarter of 2008 is officially behind us, and we’ve been treated to some quality musical moments, from Vampire Weekend’s fame-inducing debut, to Beach House’s beautifully dreamy sophomore LP, to R.E.M.’s electrifying return to form. But thus far, no record has demanded as many as repeated listens as Stainless Style. Neon Neon has ridden the new wave, and it will keep us dancing throughout the long year ahead.
-Andrew Stone


Erik said...

can this be the album we blast in the car all summer?

Zack said...

hold on there...are you tellign me that you won't be playing those hot coldplay tracks all summer

Zack said...

hold on there...are you tellign me that you won't be playing those hot coldplay tracks all summer