"This Way brings a very smooth Gallic flavour to the party, a drugged late-period Stereolab maybe. The ants eating away at the carpet (at least that's what I think that noise is) augment the song quite beautifully. "
Psapp – The Only Thing I Ever Wanted (Domino/Munich)
Hi starts as if someone's recording the washing up. Still that's to be expected, as Psapp are an eccentric duo living in a hermetically sealed world (that's press releases for you). Hi's stop-start pop is underlined by an interesting choice of instruments (none of which I can place – save they collectively sound like a kitchen) which, in turn give a spiky charm to the song. And it helps immeasurably that singer Galia Durant has a very empathic, warm voice.
The King of You is an understated reflection offset by a treated flute and some reedy synths. This girl has a great voice in fact... As if to augment the charming opener tracks, This Way brings a very smooth Gallic flavour to the party, a drugged late-period Stereolab maybe. The ants eating away at the carpet (at least that's what I think that noise is) augment the song quite beautifully. Needle & Thread is a continuation of this groove. The percussion is quite charming, a packing case and a typewriter perchance. Once again, a muted keyboard accompanies the chocolatey vocal harmonies. It's very nice indeed, real lounging around music. New Rubbers is lovely as the background changes of tempo and texture are kept in check; used instead to build up the already beautiful love song on display. Tricycle has a Barretty feel to it, in the way it ambles along in a dazed state, and the way the tinkly toy piano part rides along the top of the melody.
By contrast to Tricycle, Hill of Our Home is a muted affair; a scattering percussion and a mournful piano are the only accompaniment for the first half of the song (soon they are joined by silly synth noises). Still, the sound is incredibly claustrophobic and inward looking. The Words is a strange amalgam of sultry vocals and the contents of a toy cupboard; it's quite deranged pop that takes off two minutes in. Make Up reminds me of Fiery Furnaces for some reason, with its predeliction for piano; and yes, the vocal styles of Eleanor Friedberger and Galia Durant do bear some comparison. Eating Spiders is, as you would expect, quietly deranged; an acid campfire song with the odd squiggly noise included. Actually it's the best song on the LP as it has a sense of grandeur and a sweep about it that keeps the interesting sounds at bay. It "reaches out". Upstairs is a muted ending to this already quiet LP. It's a good ending in that its very sparseness allows time to reflect on what has gone before. And you do hear people walking upstairs; but given the predilection for sound effects on here that comes as no surprise.
Words: Richard Foster.