Andrew Poppy - Shiny Floor Shiny Ceiling

At times listening to tracks like this one, I really, really wish Billy Mackenzie was still about – he really would have lent tone to proceedings.

A marvellous if at times annoying and perplexing record. Shiny Floor Shiny Ceiling is not a work that can be ignored, just despite its essentially quiet reflective nature. I think that’s got something to do with the off-beat, inquisitive nature of the lyrics and observations. The opener Thoughts on The Language of Others (as well as the later track If I Could Copy You), demands that you get lost in its own world – for a while I just couldn’t get past the opening track such is its hypnotic charm.

As I said it’s a perplexing record and you see that with the second track, Dark Spell, which can throw you in that it’s a standard torch song with a slightly queasy, uneasy soul side to it. I think it’s Claudia Brücken singing, (it sounds like her), but I thought that when hearing it for the first time on my headphones without recourse to any notes that the download had been somehow overwritten with some MOR. It’s not bad at all on repeated listen, in fact it’s a very strong track - a bit like Wild and Lonely by The Associates - but after the opener and what follows, a complete volte face.

Normal service of sorts is resumed with the title track: a nervous and increasingly frantic reflection on an environment, it’s a mix of light opera and a keyboard riff that could be something by Klaus Schultze. It’s not a shy and retiring piece this, I can tell you. The following two tracks are quiet -Persephone Calls is just that, I mean, literally just that - whilst Dance With Me is a sort of cod-inter war ballad, with its cold synth stabs and declamatory singing, it’s the sort of thing that was popular amongst New Romantic acts, way back in the early 80’s.

Luckily, and in keeping with a lot on Shiny Floor Shiny Ceiling the song is that touch batty – you don’t get the feeling it’s taking itself that seriously, which is a saving grace. Unravelling is another cut of sinister camp; a gloopy, trippy, cine noir piece, the spectral (and treated?) vocals sound very sinister indeed. It’s all a bit Bride of Dracula at times. The dreamy vibe is carried on with the Singing Into The Air; a slow paced soliloquy which is carried gently by some dewy keys and subtle strings. At times listening to tracks like this one, I really, really wish Billy Mackenzie was still about – he really would have lent tone to proceedings. Knacker’s Yard Blues sounds like some lost (and slightly “Cabaret” take on Tupelo-era Nick Cave), and last track, Do The Flip is another enchanting list of visual images over a subtle backing.

An enchanting, diverting listen, that’s for sure. It’s actually a great, great record.