Rudi Zygadlo’s shape-shifting electro-pop chops have been given a serious work-out in the space between his début album Great Western Laymen (released over a year ago on Planet Mu) and this EP on Pictures Music. Fuller, richer and far more interesting, the sound produced on Achtung! is somewhere between Zach Condon in Holland mode and that made by modern masters of the UK indie electronic scene such as Hot Chip and Metronomy but, as I type, without most of the hipster baggage that can make it difficult to see those kinds of bands live without wanting to burn the venue down with everyone in it. And believe me, with the amount of hairspray on the dudes in those places, it’s something that could conceivably happen by ‘accident’. Maybe that’s the real reason they banned smoking indoors – realistic danger of hipster death blaze – but I digress.
Zygadlo, I fear, will get tarred with the same brush when his music begins to find a wider audience, so infectious – and unavoidably cool – is his sound. But for now we can enjoy tracks like ‘Variously Made Men’, with it’s sudden, bubbly beat-bursts and zippy changes of direction, and the excellent EP closer ‘The Deaf School’, which takes a moodier, more downbeat stance, without fear of shom-inspired immolation. ‘Catharine’, the record’s heartache lead-off, veers from deep Stevie Wonder groove to miniature brass band pomp within a verse or two and warrants the most appropriate Beirut comparison. You get the feeling Zygadlo has a pretty substantial artillery of musical tricks up his sleeve.
The title track (subtitled ‘Come Easy, Go Easy’) builds up to a final pop rush that’s crying out for a seething dance floor of herky-jerky, fancily clothed and coiffured young ladies and gentlemen to come out and grind to it. Thankfully Zygadlo’s making music which also has enough depth to make it just as enjoyable in the safety of your own home.