Psapp – What Makes Us Glow

For a band that bill themselves as an experimental electronic duo, Psapp play it disappointingly safe. Nothing here will scare your Gran or sound out of place alongside Adele and Jessie J on Debenhams’ in-store radio. Maybe that’s the point – it’s the ‘experimental music’ you can shop to (cue lucrative advertising syndication deal).

Sonically, I struggle to find anything here that fans of, say, Four Tet or Tunng won’t have heard done with much more inventiveness. The only experiments Psapp have been conducting involve the instrumentation, which we’re told include a box of mealworms and a homemade ‘boneaphone’. These appear to be responsible for the various plinkerty-plonkerty noises that characterise the album like the sound of a dozen primary school children let loose in the music teachers’ store cupboard. All of which does not make this album bad.

There’s some winning melodies scattered throughout, and lead singer Galia has a warm, fuzzy vocal style that delivers them well – a few hints of St. Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell, maybe. There are some interesting musical diversions too – the New Orleans brass flourishes of ‘The Cruel, the Kind and the Bad’ or the sweet Latin lilt of  ‘Seven’. ‘Everything Belongs To The Sun’ has the incessant rhythm of a Caribbean drum band and the pizzicato strings on ‘Bone Marrow’ work their way painlessly into your head.

By all means, slip this album on while doing the housework and make the time pass more pleasantly, but if you like your music with a little more kick, look elsewhere.

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