Monday 3 September 2012

Perhaps Contraption - Listening Bones

Album review by KevW

An eight-piece art-punk marching band you say? Well this is going to go either way. The unusual thing is, if you'll pardon the expression, it swings both ways. Perhaps Contraption have been an ever-evolving musical project for around eight years, gravitating around the London area. New mini-album 'Listening Bones' does impress with its diversity, unorthodox approach to... pretty much everything and is overflowing with ideas. But on the other side of the coin is a slightly annoying, novelty purée of styles, tempos and arrangements that often seem to be entirely devoid of direction or even a basic plan. These can be great attributes, but also bloody annoying ones. There are African rhythms, music hall comedy entertainment and what can best be described as circus music all vying for space and attention. Whether you find this extraordinarily fun or unbearably messy, you can't deny the courage and invention that's been ploughed into this record.

The jumping, stop/start melee of 'Cousin/Grandma' is entirely round the bend and the more exotic 'The Ossicles (Business Part III)' seems reasonably routine by comparison, but it's still a barking mad disorderly mess of brass and voices. It's no wonder they go down well at festivals. This is pure, insane party music. 'You Bring Out The Savage In Me' is a definite highlight, as if Bentley Rhythm Ace took their brief dalliance with the 1920s to a whole different level. 'The Nation Anthem' (apparently a cover of the Radiohead song) is also a good 'un, toying with 60s psychedelia. 'Breathe Your Breath' is a strange swing/jazz hybrid and as a whole Perhaps Contraption sounds like the result of Glenn Miller discovering acid and taking to the studio to record his own big band version of The Beach Boys' 'Smile'. It's very difficult to put such a confused and confusing cacophony into words. But to cut a long story short, 'Listening Bones' is amazing/utter bollocks (delete as appropriate).

'Listening Bones' will be available on 3rd November from Perhaps Contraption's website

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