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Za!
Loloismo Richard Foster , February 9th, 2016 20:01

Imagine a world where Van Halen, Les Harrys, the odd Muppet (let's say Beaker) and Pat Butcher all go round to Bernie Worrell's and get hammered. Along the way they have a ginormous crisp fight. They also decide to write the incidental music for Asda; persuading the corporate retailer's bemused heads that their offering is a long-lost work of Frank Zappa, and, as such, will add tone and integrity to the otherwise mundane task of perusing the cheese counter.

Does that sound too good to be true? Well, that is exactly what  Loloismo, the latest long player by Za! (two gents from Barcelona, drummer Spazzfrica Ehd aka Eduard, and guitarist and trumpeter PapaduPau) 'feels' like. It's not too far off sounding like that either; exhilarating and bemusing in equal measure. Hold on to your ears, though, as the record won't wait for you to catch up. Opener 'La Maquinaria Está Engrasada' sets the tone by sounding like two teens let loose in a music shop; a Wayne's World fantasy of ridiculous licks and processed loops. 'Mundo Estrella' throws some very daft, and confusing interruptions into the stew, whereas 'Badulake' is a merry-go-round of splurges, squiggles, samples and squeaky licks. Everything feels cut in half; and breaks, drops and chops compete with each other to be the maddest, most Monster-pickup-truck-glue noise, like, evaah. As if that wasn't enough, 'Empatando' could be John Barry reinterpreting the works of Aaron Copland for a Hannah Barbera cartoon. Of course the track falls apart, in the funny/super annoying way that Funkadelic's 'Wars Of Armageddon' does. We also get a drop (of sorts) that threatens to go "all Cumbia on us", before resuming in a slack-jawed, creamed-off urban jazz. Well, why not?

For all the clashes and bangs and power drill noises, or the 'whacky' chord changes Loloismo is a pop record. It is by no means obtuse or up its own arse. Rather, the noise these two gents knock out makes total pop sense; an intellectual and emotional stash that can be passed on, in true Head style. And making a post everything kind of sound, which Za! claim to do, necessitates using everything, too. Fear not; there are enough references to hold onto.

There are also passages where you can draw breath. 'Sancha' meanders pleasingly through its allotted five minutes, and the title track is surprisingly (and refreshingly) a traditional rock song with chords, a melody line and a chorus. It could be on the 'The Kid Gets Heavy' side of Todd Rundgren's classic 'Something/Anything?'. 'Captain Rondo' is a pleasantly dubby amble too, with a light whiff of 'The English Disease'. These tracks also work as outlier stones, alerting initiates for what is to come. 'Captain Rondo', for instance, sets the listener up for the 'Check Your Head' Beastie-isms that drive the (bizarre) sloganeering on 'Don Autoleyendas'. 'Take some sweets you're living in a mix'. Fair enough.

Did I suggest earlier that this record is off its bonce? Well, yes, I did. The two-part 'Hablas como Autechre' is a strange amalgam of PC game music and a Kurt Schwitters 'be-in'. And no record of quality could be complete without the sounds of a didgeridoo. Just ask those cats Jamiroquai. Luckily for the last track, '¡Aquí huele a assufre', Za! eschew any funky parrot nonsense and use the groans and rumbles of said instrument to set up a post-punk shuffle that wouldn't have been out of place on a Schlaflose Nächte record. Of course this can't be a straightforward post-punk shuffle; no that wouldn't do. The voices on this track sound like a squid choir instructing factory workers how to carry out their morning exercises. When they are indulging in this kind of racket, Za! mine Faust's can-do spirit (the bit at the beginning of the first Faust LP is a sort of template I feel) but with more panache, and devilry. Think of a stripped-down Mr Bungle or Fantômas record like Suspended Animation, too. Za! also channel the great bits of Zappa whilst leaving the miseryguts, existential sneering stuff (that often makes yer man Frank unlistenable) in the bin.

Some acts are seemingly born to make fast and loose, getting their thrills from risk-taking and a sense of wild abandon, regardless of consequences. Given the fact that the album's title is drawn from 'meaningless' or 'lowbrow' football chants, it is also clear that Za! see their own levity as the key ingredient. Like Widmerpool jogging ecstatically to his death in Scorp Murtlock's cult, there's a feeling of sweet release on Loloismo -  however destructive - that needs to be communicated. Unlike Widmerpool, this excursion is no self-defeating exercise. Highly, highly recommended.

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