Boomkat Product Review:
Billed as Brighton artist Stephen Maskell's final release, 'Honkytonk Cheeseballs' is an eccentric, dreamy romp through the bargain bin of British culture, stretching quirky, tangled sounds through glassy computer processes.
Weird one this. Maskell used to be known as Nag's Head, and over his last few Kit Records releases stitched together pirate radio clips with pub banter, offering a modern portrait of broken Britain. 'Honkytonk Cheeseballs' is more tranquillising, maybe resigned to the mundanity of a post-pandemic, post-Brexit reality. Not exactly ambient music, there are still stretches of placid ambience, and while it's definitely not a club record, 'Honkytonk Cheeseballs' occasionally leers into rhythmic coherence.
'Looking at the Things' sounds almost diaristic, but whose diary it is isnt made clear. Rustling ASMR sounds are sellotaped to glassy, app-ready synth plucks and distant pads, before an ominous drone threatens to capsize the mood. 'Muppet Particles' is even more unwieldy, assembling jerky pinprick beats with rubbery electronic vamps and sing-song vocals, while 'Asses on the Ceiling' is - almost - a banger, all machine-gun snares and Rian Treanor-esque stabs.
It's a wild ride: imagine the '70s Gen X fetishism of Ghost Box dragged into the present day, and you'll have some idea what to expect.