Championlover’s debut album, released through The Audacious Art Project, is right for all the wrong reasons. They teasingly bill themselves as ‘krautdubfunkpunknoise’, a combination that should be up any right-thinking music fan’s street. But there’s no ‘funk’ here, no ‘punk’, no ‘dub’, no ‘kraut’ of any description. You could just about get away with ‘noise’ if your definition of ‘noise’ was ‘things you wouldn’t want to listen to if you had a migraine’ but otherwise this is a bad case of mis-selling. What we have instead is a melange of four completely different but equally interesting sub-genres. Primarily, we have early-to-mid nineties ambient – think Moby in his pre-coffee shop muzak days, Balearic-era Beloved or maybe Future Sound Of London. Then a chilly Cocteau Twins ethereal side, ghostly female vocals hovering in and out of the mix. There’s a post-millennial Yeasayer-esque world music thing going on.
Finally, sprinkled here and there is the odd doomy Joy Division bassline. And this is all good stuff, just not the ingredients that were on the label. As far as individual tracks go, the menacing ‘Future Friends’ is the pick. It comes at you like Elizabeth Fraser and Peter Hook improvising some techno after a night on the sauce. ‘Wardad’ is the sound of the sax player from Madness struggling to make himself heard as daleks invade an Arabian street market. There’s more tasty world rhythms on the self-descriptively titled (if you forget the eel) ‘Blackpool Conga Eel’ too. My fear for this album is that it is not dense and layered enough. There’s a simplicity to the music which pleases on first hearing but may wear thin after too many listens. All too often, you see the joins where everything has been stitched together. It’s promising as a debut though. Draw together a few of these ideas and stick it with the krautdubfunkpunknoise they quite clearly hope to play and you’d have an intriguing proposition indeed.