This one is one of the tougher reviews I’ve written. I claimed it from Echoes & Dusts release list because I was absolutely in love with Neon Baby from their self-titled ep, a ridiculously infectious whirlwind of chiptune swing and a hurricane of cool-as-ice sax playing from Shabaka Hutchings. It’s a bit cheesy, a bit silly, a lot brilliant. I described it as being like Acoustic Ladyland meets Adebisi Shank to anyone who know what that might mean. I was very, very excited.
So what do you do when the album you’ve built up in your head doesn’t correlate with the album on your stereo? How do you review what it is instead of what it isn’t? I had to ditch the review for a month, try and forget the whole thing and come back to it afresh. But even then, whilst there’s a lot I did like in Channel the Spirits, I still came away a little disappointed.
Well, it’s nearly the middle of February already – so it seems as good a time as any to wrap up this round up of the previous years best songs. They don’t call me The Timely Content Kid for nothing. Also some might call having 25 songs on a top 20 list something of a cop out. To which I have no real argument.
It was a great year for music though and I think this list demonstrates just how good. Especially since it was a year in which I didn’t find much time to delve into all that much hip hop – Busdriver and Milo narrowly missed the cut for the list but that was about it for my rap listening in 2015, bar a couple of L’Orange produced albums – and almost completely ignored what was by all accounts an excellent year for black metal. It was a year of Too Much Music and this, for better or worse, is how I spent it. And given how much fun I’ve had putting this list together I’m leaning towards, “for better.”
Part 6 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
What the world needs now is less love sweet love and more sci-fi obsessed skronking psych jazz. Don’t believe me? Well, why would you – that statement is, on the face of it, gibberish. But then again you should give Neon Baby a listen and then try and tell me I’m wrong.
The Comet is Coming are here to tell us that, well, the comet is coming. We don’t have much time left until everything is wiped out and all that remains will be Donald Trump roaming the endless vistas of mangled concrete searching for someone to hate. Danalogue The Conqueror, Betamax Killer and King Shabaka have forseen this and are here to play out humanity in style.
What style? It’s sort a chiptune infused Acoustic Ladyland to these ears – Melt Yourself Down (to whom sax player Shabaka Hutchings also lends his horn skills) with less wild barking and more of what sounds like the noise Mario makes when he eats mushrooms. With it’s 16 bit noises and sci-fi vibes it reminds me of the side scrolling shooters and bullet hell games I played as a kid – in an ideal world the SNES would have have been able to handle actual saxophone and this would have been the soundtrack to R-Type or Pop n Twinbee*. Or the chorus sounds like it’d be perfect for one of those endless powerslides on Outrun.
I sold this to a friend of mine by describing The Comet is Coming as a mix of Adebisi Shank and Snarky Puppy. I don’t think that’s at all accurate – I was quite giddy at the time. They have that effect on me. But Neon Baby does have a sort of similar glitchy adrenaline rush to the former, something the world is lacking since they split. The Prophecy ep has got me itching to hear what they can do over a full length. There’s nothing concrete on that so far as I’ve heard but hopefully we won’t be waiting too long to find out.
*Games I loved but royally sucked at: Neon Baby is about as long as my average run on Axelay.