<|°_°|>, by Caravan Palace
Suggested by Alex Hamilton
If there were a prize for the quirkiest album title, then this would win hands down. Granted, it now makes me want to experiment with font and punctuation to create other pictures. I’m pretty sure I could fashion a half-decent penis, given a following wind and a stiff drink.
Of course, naming your album after an unpronounceable squiggle has its downside. If you alphabetise your CDs, where would you file this? (Note for the Youths: A CD is basically a musical stream given shape, like a Songy Pancake.) Also, how could you recommend this verbally? “Y’know what’s a great album? Less-Than-Vertical-Line-Degrees-Underscore-Degrees-Vertical-Line-Greater-Than. Absolute corker.”
Thankfully, Caravan Palace have thought of this, and have affectionately titled the album Robot Face. Beep-beep-whirr!
Robot Face starts strongly. The opening track, Lone Digger, is a marvellously swinging affair, full of joie de vivre. It feels fresh and vital, as well as embodying a dancehall style that harks back to the past. I’m reminded of Doop, the one-hit wonder that topped the charts in 1994 by the Eurodance Dutchies of the same name. While this might seem a denigration on the face of it, Doop was a catchy song, and Lone Digger takes that catchiness but adds layers and depth without losing that toe-tapping ideal.
The next song, Comics, is similar. It’s fun, and toe-tapping, and has the same quirky swing feel. IT’s not as good as Lone Digger, but that’s fine.
The third song, Mighty, is also similar.
As is the fourth. And the fifth.
Honestly? I began to drift off round this point. While I found it pleasant and refreshing at first, it slipped away with an unobtrusive shrug. Nice, intricate, repetitive, gone.
You’ve guessed, but Lone Digger gets my vote as the standout track. It’s a cracking song. Sadly, the sin of familiarity takes the blush off the rose, and by the end I found <|°_°|> to be eminently forgettable. I’ll remember the funky title long after I stop humming the opening song.
I give Robot Face 5/10, seeing it off with a wave as the face gets lost in the crowd.