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Reviews

Late Of The Pier
Fantasy Black Channel Luke Turner , August 14th, 2008 11:14

Late Of The Pier - Fantasy Black Channel

Now that the hard drives of the nation's youth are veritable magpie’s nests of songs, you’d expect that we’d be hearing more records as preposterously ambitious as Late Of The Pier’s enjoyable debut. Where so many of their contemporaries remain stuck in age-old stylistic ruts, be they indie of the Top-or-chip shop variety, the lurid and amateurish new rave puke, the wheedling of emo, Late Of The Pier tick more boxes than an overworked electoral fraudster. What’s more, Fantasy Black Channel arrives very much fully formed – this is the sound of a young band jumping out of the blocks with balls full and swinging within their lycra pantaloons.

Fantasy Black Channel manages to be daft without being moronic, oozing with camp theatrics and mature panache. It’s cleverly and uncynically put together with the aid of DJ-turned-producer Erol Alkan; this is his third long playing production job (after Long Blondes and Mystery Jets) and it in many ways is a natural extension of the anything goes policy that made his club Trash so special.

There are twists of Klaxons in Late of the Pier’s ability to meld guitars and synths without it feeling clunky (just listen to appalling Antipodeans Midnight Juggernauts to hear how it shouldn’t be done), but Late Of The Pier are tuned in to an even wider spectrum of sounds. ‘Space And The Woods’ isn’t only a Numanoid uncle woken up from a deep and terrible dream by some bratty nephew, but also enjoys a glorious glammy stomp. ‘VW’ is a bombastic a brassy piece where any tendencies towards Muse-esque pomposity are punctured by a shout of “cabbage” (or is it garbage?) at the close. But the inventiveness doesn’t just come in the form of turning up the fruity and frothing settings on guitars and machines: ‘The Bears Are Coming’ and ‘Random Firl’, for instance, rattle with what feels like found sounds used for rhythms – the latter is akin to looking at a fairground carousel through someone else’s strong specs.

Crucially, Fantasy Black Channel is, like Wild Beasts Limbo, Panto, a record that ought to be played to those traitorous moaning minnies who insist that we should all be rolling over for US indie’s cultural imperialism and listening to anemic dross like Fleet Foxes. Fantasy Black Channel doesn’t merely tread the fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous, it dances definition into the dust and comes out the other side with busted calves, a bastard behind the eyes, and an uncaring grin smeared across its fresh unrazored face.

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