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SOULO – Man, The Manipulator (Plug Research)

Posted: January 20th, 2005, by Stuart Fowkes

Now this is more like it. Soulo approach their music with an admirable anything-goes attitude that sees them throw a stack of instruments into some microphones and recording the results. Not that there’s anything random about the record – it’s a fine balance between orchestrated electro pop and synth-fuelled downtempo goodness. More often not, this admirable scope of ideas runs into the kind of chops and breaks that Ninja Tune put out when they’re not plastering the coffee tables of Hoxton with 85bpm easy listening. ‘What Do You Say After Hello?’ is as frazzled as Homelife’s finest moments, while ‘Daddy’s Girl, Mama’s Boy’ approximates to Super Numeri rehearsing in the same room as Capitol K. ‘The Peter Principle’, meanwhile, starts off with some crumpling, distorted kicks, which fade back into a lush arrangement, like Beck taking the spanners to the Cinematic Orchestra.

Naturally, there are moments when the album doesn’t hold together as well as it might, and when they lose their focus, the record can sag into periods of indifference. When they’re sitting still on one theme, there’s a sense of restlessness, and in fact they’re much stronger when screaming excitedly through a series of shorter tracks like a sugar-fuelled child in a toy shop. It’s perhaps short of the one or two classic tracks that might propel it on to great things, but if you’re a fan of throwing a load of ideas against a wall and seeing what sticks, รก la Max Tundra, this is well worth a listen.


Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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