A perplexing album by Belgium?s De Portables, yet I enjoyed it more than I expected after my initial impression. That?s something of a dubious compliment, as my first reaction was?. well, let me tell you about it.
The front cover shows a bikini top draped over a girl?s eyes. Dodgy, I thought: definitely not a good start. The opening title is a spoonerism: ?Coll Phillins? and further down the track list we find ?Autist Redding?. I don?t particularly care for reviews of the sleeve and titles, rather than the music, but I thought these deserved a mention, as they drew a groan from me.
The aforementioned opener is an extended space rock instro ? rather good too. Track 2 has a more pastoral feel and a dubby bass line. A bunch of songs follow these two pieces with equal parts American indiepop, shoegaze and 1980?s feel to them. Some of the music here has a broad sweep and an impressive scope, but the type of humour in the lyrics is of the sort that I found wore thin on repeated playings.
Towards the end of the album there is some 15 minutes of watery field recording, overlaid with spot effects: a cow moos, some guns and aircraft are heard and a siren. I presume this and the quirky lyrics are supposed to be very funny. I can?t say I laughed at all and what made me even more straight faced listening to this is that the wealth of talent involved seems to be expended on something quite trite. Still some good moments, but it could?ve been much more. 5/10 -- John Cavanagh (4 March, 2008)