Which isn't to say Discodeine doesn't have some knockouts. I put "Synchronize" on my RA ballot when it came out as a DFA 12-inch this past December, but time just deepens and sharpens it. Part of the initial charge of the song was simply the idea of Jarvis Cocker singing zinging-strings disco—at last!—and subsequent listening convinces me that the thing itself is even better than the idea. "Grace" is an effortlessly stylish cross between Brazilian samba, Smith N' Hack's "To Our Disco Friends" and something Darrell Calker, the composer for animator Walter Lantz in the 1940s, might have cooked up for a fight scene in a Woody Woodpecker short, its fuse a hammering piano line played on the keyboard's far left. Matias Aguayo features on the album's opener, "Singular," whose synth-and-African-percussion combo, followed closely by the percussion-and-chant-focused "Fallkenberg," sound together like a far more polished take on something you'd expect from Compass Point Studio, circa 1982.
There is by definition something slightly hermetic about this kind of perfectionism—yes, "D-A" is a to-the-letter Alan Parsons Project ballad, but do we need another one of those? (The title stands for "drunken angel"—a phrase too embarrassing to spell out, but singing it is OK, apparently.) But that track does point up the blue streak running through the album; it's slightly melancholy even when the track urges you to celebrate, as on "Ring Mutilation." Maybe it's the massed buzzes that eventually become unsettling as they swarm about at higher pitches; maybe it's the affectless "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" refrain. Unpacking it takes a while. Letting it sink in helps.
Wed / 2 Mar 2011
01. Singular feat. Matias Aguayo
03. D-A feat. Baxter Dury
05. Ring Mutilation
06. Depression Skint
11. Synchronize feat. Jarvis Cocker
12. Figures In A Soundscape