Album: Stainless Style
Artist: Neon Neon
Neon Neon is a collabaration between producer/DJ Boom Bip and Super Furry Animals lead singer Gruff Rhys. Their album, Stainless Style, is a concept album about John DeLorean, the auto industry guru who designed futuristic cars (you may remember that Marty McFly drove a "DeLorean" in "Back To The Future") and was arrested in 1982 for drug-trafficking. If this all sounds a bit silly on paper, the album is performed seriously, charting DeLorean's rise and fall without a hint of irony (well, maybe a hint here or there).
Boom Bip and Rhys create the kind of music fitting of a concept album set in the late 70's/early 80's: the sort of early early electro-pop and new wave that was hitting the charts at the time dominates the album (there are a few guest spots from rappers Fatlip, Spank Rock, and Yo Majesty, but those raps only appear on 3 of the 12 tracks, making them the exception to the rule, and even those have pretty retro production). On the electro throwback tracks, slick synthesizers and drum machines back light vocals from Rhys, who often harmonizes with his own overdubbed voice, like in the insanely catchy "Dream Cars". Meanwhile, the more new wave tracks feature jangly guitars in place of the synthesizers, although the harmonies and drum machines are still in place.
While the music on Stainless Style is all catchy, there is a sense of melancholy throughout the album. The lyrics paint a picture of an obsessed, lonely man, one who can never get enough power or drugs, whose downfall is inevitable. That's another thing, that Rhys and Boom Bip actually took the time to pay attention to the lyrics, so what seems like a silly concept becomes a fairly engaging if not always clear character study.
Stainless Style is a catchy, engaging album, worth checking out.
Highlights: "Dream Cars", "I Lust U", "Luxury Pool"
By P. Segal