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Datarock Red Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

One Kraftwerk-cool funk sleepover!

Lou Thomas 2009

Norwegian electropunk duo Datarock were previously best know for their excellent slice of nu-disco fun Fa-Fa-Fa.

That thrilling single has been used to soundtrack adverts and computer games galore, so it may seem unusual that second album Red takes the form of a concept album completed with equipment made only before 1983.

Commerce and art can make happy bedfellows, though and this is one Kraftwerk-cool funk sleepover.

After a shocking opening track (The Blog) which essentially comprises various web-evangelists geeks banging on about the net over sub-LCD Soundsystem shouts from vocalist Fredrik Saroea, the album is pretty damn tasty.

As is hugely fashionable in the latter half of the third millenium’s first decade, there are almost endless references to post-punk legends like Devo and Talking Heads.

Give It Up is funky like David Byrne’s idiosyncratic crew and features a vocal that imitates Devo man Jerry Casale, True Stories is Elvis Costello slickness with whopping Can/Neu! Beats and an amusing lyric that is entirely made up of Talking Heads lyrics while Dance! is excellent, all shimmying guitar and disco basslines.

Molly is more standard indie fare but remains an odd mix of the hilarious and touching because of its titular subject: erstwhile John Hughes' muse and actress Molly Ringwauld.

There is a stylistic break from the norm on Not Me, where a droning, insistent riff like sped-up Spacemen 3, is layered with a baritone vocal that could pass as a Dave Gahan impersonation.

Similarly, instrumental In The Red saunters along incongruously like a psychedelic reworking of some bygone seaside singalong. It’s a break from the relentless retro but Saroea and bassist/keyboard man Ketil Mosnes are better when they keep things funky or at least driving, as on Fear Of Death, which could probably fool the unitiated into the belief it was a rare Cure b-side.

Red may lack originality and be based on a slightly pointless concept but at least it contains a hefty percentage of top tunes.

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