Canada's techno demi-god finally gets around to releasing his long-awaited debut LP, Sexor.
Kicking off with a 50 second introduction to the World of Sexor, this is an album that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Opening track proper, '(Far From) Home' is knowing Prince-like synth-techpop. Production values are high and interestingly the Soulwax brothers were involved with a good number of the tracks on Sexor and '(Far From) Home' is one of those. Next up is the hit single 'You Gonna Want Me' featuring Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters-fame on falsetto duties. Whilst not as instantly memorable as some of Tiga's earlier work, 'You Gonna Want Me' fits Shears well without alienating Tiga's fans in the slightest.
'High School' sends Sexor into a more techno inspired direction (whilst maintaining some room for Tiga's deadly camp vocals) before the somewhat aggressive Public Enemy cover 'Louder Than a Bomb' gets it's full groove-on with lovely warm bass-lines that conjure images of back-in-the-day. At three minutes fifteen it isn't really long enough, yet it leads straight into the even better 'Pleasure from the Bass', mixing up more oldschool basslines with a fantastic futurist production style and the odd stab of acid. The pop melodies are a distant memory by the time the throbbing techno of 'Who's That?' steamrolls the listener into submission.
The album's second cover turns up in a take on Nine Inch Nails' 'Down In It'. There is something in Tiga's production techniques that almost always adds something new to a song (with the sole exception of his take on Felix Da Housecat's 'Madame Hollywood'), and this is no different making a minimalistic introspective piece on an album that otherwise lets the listener get no closer to Tiga, hiding beneath a veneer of cool.
'The Ballad of Sexor' takes things back into a more melodic direction before one of the album's highlights, the full-on diesel-powered locomotive that is the last single, 'Good as Gold' - "And now I know, who's in control" sings Tiga. '(Far From) Home the Speed of Sexor Reprise' sees the album's opening melody stripped back and re-interpreted with a little less pop-nouse and a little more acid. 'Burning Down the House' is a take on the Talking Heads' classic. If you know Tiga and you know the song, you should be able to imagine the 303 riding sensation that is this version. '3 Weeks' is drowned in distortion and a slice of 21st pop perfection.
The album closes with the Soulwax co-written 'Brothers'. It is a mix of all the above with a Hooky style lead-bassline and is definitely another highlight. The final (ghost) track is introduced by a fan proclaiming Tiga as a god, and to be fair, Sexor is great. It may zig-zag from pop to techno and back, but what else did you expect? Whilst the mainstream media may continue to be oblivious the likes of Tiga, Richard X and Stuart Price are carving a new pop landscape, and Sexor is the first essential album of 2006.
If you're a regular reader you probably know that BlackPlastic loves the Secret Machines. It would be more difficult to congure up an album from the last few years more emotive than the absolutely sublime Now Here is Nowhere. If you don't like the thought of a man receiving huge pleasure look away now.
'Alone, Jealous and Stoned' is the first single to be lifted from the forthcoming album, Ten Silver Drops, and by golly is that an exciting thought - a new album from the Secret Machines. The single is only available as a download or a single-sided, clear 12" vinyl, but believe me, it is worth seeking out. As ethereal as ever, 'Alone, Jealous and Stoned' sounds like it has been carved out of mountains. It is that huge. And it may be prog-rock, but it is prog-rock with such a clear heart on its sleeve that it could bring tears to your eyes. This music is emotional enough to soundtrack a wedding... just make sure that your bride is beautiful enough to carry it off. There is really not much more that can be said... It is the Secret Machines so the sound builds in waves of guitars, wooshes of electronics to a awesome conclusion after six minutes and forty-eight seconds of perfection. Here's to the remaining nine silver drops.
This month BlackPlastic is mostly going to be bigging up everybody's brand new favourite band, Hot Chip. February's song of the month is 'Keep Fallin'', taken from their killer electronic music long-player, Coming On Strong.
Frankly Coming On Strong is good enough that you could almost have every track as a song of the month, but there is something about the funked-up gangstar swagger of 'Keep Fallin'' that makes it stand out. Bass lines and drums ripped out of a Daft Punk tune, had they turned into the best band on the planet rather than a tired joke, combine with Prince-esque vocals about Stevie Wonder ("Don't you know that even Stevie Wonder sees things? Don't you ever wonder how the hell does Stevie Wonder see things?") and almost haunting melodies. The result is something funny and timely yet at the same time packed with enough feeling that you can't help but really like it.
And then the song disolves into twenty seconds of Kazoos. Fantastic.
To buy Coming On Strong at Amazon click here.