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Messy Century
Mute Records

If you've been searching for that definitive splice between Grandaddy and The Beta Band, these Wales boys have answered your hybrid prayers. Messy Century kicks in backdrops brimming with loops and swirls where everything sounds like it's getting sucked backwards into your speakers. Although it's easy to pick through the contemporary benchmarks of this record, there's the faintest imprint of a country influence and Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies that bleed through the electronic caste.

I could be wrong, but I swear that "UK Theatre" borrows a gait from Terrence Trent D'arby's "Wishing Well", as well as any number of Sgt. Pepper's melodies pressed up through the cracks. The Mountaineers join an illustrious peer group (Radiohead, Four Tet, Manitoba, Telefon Tel Aviv) of electronic musicians who thread technology into their music with a subtlety that verges on invisibility, or at least technology for the phobic and guitar needy. That's not to say that each track isn't busy with various bleeps and echoes and a background that pinballs with skittering accents, but it does so with a minimum level of structural intrusion. Even at their weirdest, The Mountaineers clearly want to write plaintive pop songs, sprawled out and glitchy, but winsomely simple at their core. Even the far afield numbers such as the distorted twitcher, "Bom Bom", keep your attention with the Devendra Banhart through a tin can vocals and a beat that would immediately pack the dance floors if it didn't keep dropping off the radar, falling through the bottom and missing every other step. They're Brits, so you have to expect a certain musical cheekiness always pulling the rug out from under your ear. For all its imaginative sewing of beat to acoustic chord, the real treasures in Messy Century are the sweet snatches of song that make their way to the top of the fray.

-Terry Sawyer

Track Listing:

1. Ripen
2. Sewing
3. It's Solid
4. I Gotta Sing
5. Belgique Limb
6. Want To Write You
7. UK Theatre
8. Backgrounds
9. All My Life
10. Bom Bom
11. Gruppen
12. Apart From This
13. Silent Dues

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