Boomkat Product Review:
James Ford and James Shaw seem to have had a hand in just about every record released over the past couple of years, between them remixing the likes of Bjork, Muse and Air, while Ford alone has produced Florence & The Machine, Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys and The last Shadow Puppets. This second album finds the duo flicking through their celebrity address books and hooking up with a variety of singing stars, starting with Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys, who transfers his electronically-modified set of pipes from the Neon Neon project over to 'Cream Dream', a vocoded synth-spun nugget that precedes recent single 'Audacity Of Huge', the song in which Yeasayer's Chris Keating boasts over his ownership of "a bag of Bill Murray". Which one can only hope is not a euphemism for something mucky. Beth Ditto manages to sound relatively restrained on 'Cruel Intentions', bringing a great performance to the table that ends up sounding like something from the Hercules & Love Affair album. Slightly more off-putting - at least in its initial stages - is the Jamie Liddell-fronted 'Off The Map', which starts out with a very silly vocal that's all a bit too Basement Jaxx for its own good. It goes on to redeem itself with some soulful synth-pop, leading you into 'Synthesize', which sets Justice-style synth chord melodrama alongside '90s 'dance anthem' type vocal samples (which curiously, are sourced from a Todd Rundgren record). Given how strong the roster of guest singers is, Alexis Taylor sounds a tad flimsy-of-larynx on 'Bad Blood', although the general kookiness of the production seems to fit with the Hot Chip frontman's vocal style. The instrumental cuts on the album (such as the greatly entertaining '10,000 Horses Can't Be Wrong'), though in the minority, often deliver the most satisfactory results, but as an impeccably cool finale there is something very right about the Telepathe-assisted 'Pinball'. Ultimately, you might get the sense that this album suffers ever so slightly from over-inflation and a lack of creative consistency, perhaps spreading too much of the record between showbiz pals when a more focused narrative would have reaped greater rewards. All that said, there remains a healthy supply of individual stand-out moments, and as you'd expect, Ford and Shaw supply enough nice production touches to make the album somewhat more than the fleeting amusement its title bills it to be.