Plus Instruments – Trancesonics

This is a marvellous LP; one which employs a mix of mad sounds and considerable know how. Not to mention bags of charm. At times it’s a weird pop master class.

http://www.plusinstruments.com (Blowpipe records)

Not many people know of Truus de Groot’s work, or at best will have only a fleeting knowledge of it. Which is a terrible shame; because, like the other long-lost, (and recently reified) Dutch experimental pop pioneers Minny Pops, Truus’s work with Naasmak and Plus Instruments is of the highest order. It really is.

And now she’s back with Trancesonics – replete with her “crackle box” and disarmingly simple way of looking at the world. She’s great at setting a seemingly simple message over a plethora of noise and this LP is a set of thumping and often strange tunes that constantly have you itching to dance or wondering just what planet she’s beaming in from.

It’s Complicated and Into Oblivion are magnificent mantras of Weirdo Pop, taking the template of the old Plus Instruments classic Bodies, and giving it a glossy, very modern twist. The latter ends up as a sort of confessional, albeit one that should be rendered unto Darth Vader or something. Love Is Enough is an industrial space stomp par excellence, the beat crashing through town like some praetorian guard (or the women police from the Two Ronnies’ sketch, The Worm Has Turned) whilst de Groot croons over the top to all intents and purposes reworking Peter Cook’s Great Garbo impression. The bass line is ridiculously lush too; almost the sort of mellifluous run that Nile Rogers would slap down in something like Happy Man. And what is happening on Obsolete? A shuddering synth neat redolent of late 80s club land is given a hard time by the noises emanating from that magical “crackle box”. Like most tracks it’s over before you know it.

Things get more relaxed with Magic Carpet and Snake Charmer, two mid-paced tracks that play on a sort of kooky dreaminess and where you can hear a sort of kinship with Tom Tom Club and where you can finally draw breath from the giddy nonsense that fizzes through the rest of Trancesonics. But best on the LP is (incredibly) saved till late on: Detour Square Dance is asset over a sort of D.A.F.-like riff, you know, sharp, electronic, slightly dystopian. You Make Me Stomp is, (guess), a high tempo mantra full of weird noises and Moogs, and a track which also seems to utilize the beat from Byrne & Eno’s Help Me Somebody, though it is very likely that I could be making that up. I could also be fabricating the connection between When The Rain Comes and anything off Hector Zazou’s Reivax Au Bongo,  the but they do share the same magical weirdness and alien beauty. It’s a fabulous track. Not as fab as the last though, In My Dreams is the ultimate nightmare dance track, the simple melody whipped to within an inch of its life by that damned crackle box. Briljant.

Anyway, I should shut up now. Apart from reiterating that this is a marvellous LP; one which employs a mix of mad sounds and considerable know how. Not to mention bags of charm. At times it’s a weird pop master class. You really need to give it a listen or two.