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Shout At The Doner Iain Moffat , May 6th, 2009 06:25

The name is clearly post-acid, while the man himself is a survivor of an age when the far left of the techno sphere was composed chiefly of the twin threats of glitchtronica, all heftily indebted to the mighty mid-90s work of Oval, and the rapidly-rising oeuvre of Digital Hardcore. You might expect, therefore, that even though he's returned after an uncharacteristically long hiatus to a landscape where electronic artists of every hue are making substantial hay from looking back two or more generations (ranging from the flawless prime Smash Hits homagery of Frankmusik to Junior Boys' so-much-acer-than-it's-got-any-right-to-be forthcoming ersatz Hall and Oates endeavour), Kid606, ever the scorched earth enthusiast, could probably still be relied upon to go his own sweet way.

As indeed he does, although there was seldom anything terribly sweet about him - in fact, scorching might be the more appropriate word. However, even initial indications here are never less than appetising. For starters, there's the fact that he's divided this lengthy return into four movements; yes, that's gratuitous pretension, but take the gratuitous pretension out of music and you've got to make do with the The Scripts of this world, which can never be a good thing. Also, like all the great mercurial alt.popsters from Mark E Smith to Venetian Snares, he's composed a tracklisting that manages to be both cheekily clever and yet recklessly close to simultaneously stupid: 'Baltimorrow's Parties', 'Malcontinental', 'America's Next Top Modwheel' et al. And then there's 'Mr. Wobble's Nightmare', a brilliantly damaged junglist salvo about impromptu rave cannibalism that wears its 4 Hero worship with pride and is already one of the year's most instantly winning singles. Can the album itself live up to all this?

Thankfully, it can with ease, although, curiously, it's the oldest reference point herein that proves the most telling, as Nick Cave's beloved holler of "Hands up who wants to die!" from '83's 'Sonny's Burning' punctures the cracking, quacking horror-house odyssey 'Dancehall Of The Dead', since the overwhelmingly pervasive quality here is alluring, adult darkness. You can hear it in the queasy listening laser cascades of 'Samhain California'. It's smeared across the weirdly ingenious drugs-are-great-mmmkay? scribble 'The Church Of 606 Is now Open for Business', which takes a wholly unanticipated bite from Detroit Grand Pu Bahs' 'Snadwiches'. And there's no getting away from it in the mean-spirited cut'n'shut collage 'Cerebrate Yourself' (which, mere weeks from Mr Oizo's latest including 'Bruce Willis Is Dead', refers prematurely to Val Kilmer being deceased. Whatever next? Knifehandchop returning to mourn the passing of Steven Seagal?).

Yet, oddly, there are occasional bursts of pranksterly joy and, to an extent, lightness of touch to be had here too: '...Modwheel' may well be unique in using timestretching for satirical purpos es, while 'Underwear Everywhere' does astonishing well to weld big beat chipmunkery to its - good lord! - speed garage sensibilities, and 'You All Break My Heart' actually sees Mr 606, to all intents and purposes, donning his furry bra. Unfashionable? Undeniably so, not to mention uncompromising and relentlessly uncommercial. Still, there's a lot to be said for the fact that age doesn't seem to be withering the Kid one bit, and 'Shout At The Doner' is, by any reckoning, a veritable feast of an album.