In 1972 a man appeared in Wakefield Crown Court with the prosecution claiming that he "in effect stole Cleckheaton station". After the railway station had closed British Rail contracted a company to clear the site with the deal being that the contractors would retain the money made from the sail of materials and scrap. Unfortunately for them when they turned up to do the work, someone had got there first. His defence, which was accepted by the jury, was that he was also a victim having been conned by someone claiming to act for the contractors and was himself substantially out of pocket.*
Given this it seems somewhat appropriate that a band whose moniker is derived from the Cleckheaton-Huddersfield-Halifax triangle of their origin should take such a magpie approach to music making. Both in terms of the music itself (which pinballs through a myriad of (mostly 80s) electro, pop and indie sub-genres) and what it is played on (largely what could be gotten from charity shops) they seem to want to embody the old adage that one man's scrap is another's treasure. Of course it can be equally true that one man's scrap is another's, well, crap. For the most part the music errs on the right side of danceable new-wave, though. There is plenty of synth-led bounce and punka rhythm and they manage to meld the disparate elements with a certain amount of panache.
In some parts there is a feeling reminiscent of the KLF at their most jocular. Indeed A Decree at first listen appears to be inspired by Doctorin' the Tardis, although as it unfurls I get the feeling that there may have been some Doctor Who videos amongst the racks at the charity shops, as the sound effects towards the end sound rather close to some of the stuff that the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop used to cook up. It's what the future used to sound like, before sci-fi became something you could admit to liking in the company of adults. This kind of thing could easily come over as geekily daft and tiresome, but is mostly saved from this fate by enough pop nous and danceability to prevent it being the preserve of boys in bedrooms.
It's not all so positive, though. The strangulated vocals detract somewhat, making for me the highlight the last track, the vocal-less National Anthem of Cleckhuddersfax. Even if it does sound a bit too much like the kind of thing that soundtracked slightly shoddy game-boy games twenty years ago. It is, however, great fun which seems rather the point. They veer a bit too close to the excesses of the rubbish end of prog at times, especially in what feels (even in an album of less than thirty minutes total) like an overly-long mid-section. There is enough fun to be had over the eight tracks to save the thing from the charity shop, or indeed the scrap-heap.
*I know that that is a pretty shitty way to open a review, but it was either that or the fact that Cleckheaton is home to the largest Indian Restaurant in the world.