This is the Idjut Boys' first album. Seriously. They ain't exactly been idle over the years, but that still seems hard to fathom. With output spanning almost 20 years of dance music, the duo—Dan Tyler and Connie McConnell—have been Beardo Renaissance men of a sort, between assorted twelves, edits, an album with Rune Lindbaek as two-thirds of the Meanderthals in 2009 and a series of high-profile mixes perhaps topped by their Press Play set for Tirk in 2005.
For Cellar Door, the Idjuts return to Smalltown Supersound, the home of their album as Meanderthals, and, as they've mentioned in interviews, set out to make the kind of double-sided LP you can savor over morning coffee; savor, flip, return to your waffles to revel in side two. And in doing so, the two has mostly forsaken the dance-end of their kaleidoscopic pedigree. This is music designed for the slow creep of first light, whether you're just waking to mark its passing or are at the bleary end of a footloose night. Unsurprisingly given their solo material and edit work to date, the album's a loose, meandering collection of heat dazed slo-mo disco, stoner dub and Balearic rock, arranged in a loping narrative.
For much of the record, Sally Rodgers acts not so much as anchor but more as a kind of smeared, blurry accoutrement for the duo's jammy, journey-struck outings. She's a soft focus guide of sorts through the glare. There are spacious strum-alongs like "Rabass" or "Jazz Axe" bookending the dubby, fuzzy half-dissolved rock of the Rodgers-led "Shine," the Ibiza'd Fleetwood Mac strut of "Going Down," or the crawl-bass and sky bent guitar work of "The Way I Like It." There's the wonky, drug-spent "Le Wasuk," which begins a slow piano warm up before spreading into this strange electronic spazz-waltz of sorts. There's the excellent expansive rock of "Lovehunter," which kind of amazingly sounds like something Roy Harper would have made had he fronted a Balearic disco outfit.
In fact the only thing on Cellar Door that leans remotely floor-ward is lead single "One for Kenny," with its muscular bass roll, strident synth peals, scratchy guitar and funky piano work courtesy of Bugge Wesseltoft. It's the rare accelerant here on an album bent on steady heartbeats, the pace of nights at home or reading soundtracks. It may be the duo's debut, but it works as a perfect companion piece to the drifting pleasures of their work as Meanderthals. Oft-delayed, long-overdue, but quietly, subtly worth the wait.