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Go-Kart Mozart
Mozart's Mini-Mart Mick Middles , February 21st, 2018 08:58

It's Lawrence, with the most effervescent and creative album of his extraordinary career.

Well, here it is. Seventeen slabs of Lawrence absurdity, clasped in a gorgeously garish sleeve, effectively mirroring the eccentricities herein. From a distance, I have followed Lawrence of Belgravia, through staple guises – Felt, Denim and several outings for Go-Kart Mozart. But even the kind of uber-fans that Lawrence has always attracted must admit something here. This, without question, is the most effervescent and creative album of his extraordinary career.

The songs zing past with outrageous velocity. No second is lost to aesthetic introversion. Furthermore, and given the record’s lo-fi status this is the most remarkable fact of all, his command of simplistic, beguiling pop melody bulges from every single song.

It's not all fizz and pop, either. Beginning in a weird and jaunty place called 'Anagram Of We Sold Apes', which howls an unfulfilled promise of ZE Records-style disco extremism, the album immediately dips into the lost musings of 'When You're Depressed'. That this should be trumpeted as the album's opening single is the blackest of Lawrence jokes. Two outrageous beauts – 'Zelda's In The Spotlight' and 'Big Ship' – both explode with earworm charm and in no way prepare you for the enveloping misery of 'A Black Hood on His Head', which needs little explaining. Flirting dangerously with flippancy, only Lawrence could possibly squeeze the darkest form of humour from a song that rages 'They cut his fucking head off'. That this is lost amid the relentless genius of this collection merely adds leaden weight to this most unsettling of songs. There will be many for whom this will be one step beyond. Flip past it, if so, for it bears little resemblance to its 16 sonic friends.

The hinge song of the collection is a completely unexpected version of Roger Whittaker's 'New World In The Morning' which veers precariously towards Frank Sidebottom-style juvenile vision, and how fitting to see it followed by the thrusting presence of 'I'm Dope'. As daft as a brush and bristling with charm.

Of course the guiding factor here, as ever, is one of square pegs and round holes. Where, in present or past, does one place Go Kart Mozart? (The Springsteen link with that name has also seemed incongruous, to say the least.) Some universe beyond the lush pop psyche of XTC, perhaps? Or even beyond Lawrence's own orbits of Felt and Denim? I don't know. But I do sense an irony in the excellent and ironically 'Poundland' excesses of the sleeve.