MecanoUn-Ltd - Erector Set Rebuilt

In any case Dirk Polak could sing over the top of an insurance advert and make it sound as if he was discussing Camus with his mates in the pub.

My what a good record this MecanoUn-Ltd one is. Apparently Erector Set Rebuilt has been in limbo some twenty years, but you know there’s a time and a place for everything.  

This is brave music; made the moreso by the fact that some passages on Erector Set Rebuilt could be easily be dismissed as ungainly or preposterous. The guitar break in Tabou d’Esprit, for example, bravely walks the line between the twin chasms named “Naff” and “Irrelevant”. Same goes for the strange squeaky sample on Uncompromising Love – one that sounds like a dog toy being chewed to death. That they don’t irritate or confound in the slightest is testament to the thoughtful and intuitive feel that Polak and his partner in crime Mick Ness bring to this record. Erector Set Rebuilt is a brilliant essay in how to make inclusive, human music; for sure it’s an eclectic album and there are a lot of Left Bank stylings and maybe overly playful aural curveballs, but it’s never pretentious. Rather this is in places an indescribably lovely record; things like Dusty Soul have the feel of a Hector Zazou LP, and Tsjernobyl a veritable pick and mix bag of baggy, John Foxx, Bowie and late Malcolm McLaren. Crazy. Somehow it’s just perfect. And it’s not what I was expecting, to be honest; Some September Siberia is about as close to the old “classic” Mecano as this record gets; Polak’s atmospheric mind mapping given weight by some minor chord runs and a growling guitar line.  The last/free download track The Indoor LandArt Soundtrack has a frostily post-punk/dub feel too; albeit a sound that has been given a squirt of oil, and revamped for this ever so knowing age.

There’s also a feel of Barry Adamson in places; things like Adamson’s great 90’s albums, Oedipus Schmoedipus or The Taming of the Shrewd; but on Erector Set Rebuilt there’s no suggestion that Mecano are trying too hard to impress or be showmen. But then the band doesn’t really look to. This album is also a very confident but very personal record, with (maybe) the accent on the personal. In any case Dirk Polak could sing over the top of an insurance advert and make it sound as if he was discussing Camus with his mates in the pub. No: Polak’s trick is to put the listener at ease; you can hear this with the brilliant taproom lament Soft Pioneers Implode the opening ballads Single Splits and Pilar; his accordion dropping into the mix to give bathos to proceedings.     

I’m sure “in a perfect world” I’d be admonished for liking this, but it isn’t and I don’t care frankly. Tune in turn on and drop out.