EccentronicWhen Eccentronic Research Council announced they had signed to Trash Mouth Records for a collaboration with Fat White Family and Bafta-nominated Maxine Peake earlier this year, the lead track ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ indicated a claustrophobic synth-rock stalker epic largely fronted by Fat White Family. What has been released is a spacier, more surreal narrative composition based more in the ERC’s work.

Often with collaborations, one collaborator will end up taking centre stage, in this case compositions seem to blend well. Its sound channels a radiophonic inspired David Shrigley. If anything, compared with the ERC’s prior release, 1612 Underture this album seems to focus more on the narrator’s words than a more avant garde sound. Maxine Peake’s obsessive narrations bode well with ERC’s bleeps and gloopy synths, but her voice is no longer spoken through layers of oscillators. The subject itself is more ample ground to Peake and the ERC to play with, and provides a brilliant satire of the banality of small venue touring (particularly for The Moonlandingz expedition to Liverpool halfway through the album).

When The Moonlandingz (label mates Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski of the Fat White Family) join in for ‘Sweet Saturn Mine’ and ‘Lay your Head Down on the Road’, the tracks break fittingly with the narration, providing enough lyrical quality to stop the album sounding too much like a Monkeydust audio book.

Though there is the undeserved notion that without Fat White Family’s endorsement, without the ERC being the debut signing to Trash Mouth Records, this record would not have garnered the attention from the press it has. This is probably true, but more reflective of the mechanics of the music industry than the record itself.

Considering the choice of release date, the album’s relevance was probably meant to be more celebratory, considering its political undertones. It may be a spoiler to state this, but the narrator’s links to a certain eighties political figure signals a satirical direction where music will hopefully be heading in light of the general election. Although my current electoral hangover renders this part of the album annoyingly more relevant than it may have been originally intended.

It’s hard to pigeon hole the concept record into a pre-existing category, which perhaps is its problem. It never quite works as simply an audio-book narrative, nor a concept spoken-word album. But it hardly matters, and in some respects, the hard-to-placeness of the album lends itself to its surreal incredulity. The novelty of it all doesn’t last as long as you’d hope, but the album nonetheless is worth listening to.

Release Date 18/05/2015 (Without Consent)

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Tim Moss

I liked Yaggfu Front before they were famous