Mercury Prize shortlist nominees (number: 2008)
en: Stainless Style [info]
The alchemists, Gruff Rhys, lead singer and guitarist of Super Furry Animals, and Bryan Hollon, aka Boom Bip, Los Angeles based industrial dance producer and musician, have teamed up to create gold with their debut album Stainless Style. The couple first worked together on Blue Eyed in the Red Room, Bip's 2005 album on the track Do's and Don'ts (also released as a 7"), and from there a plan was hatched for a future album. Hollon, who came to the attention of John Peel and Gilles Peterson in the early 2000s for his unique brand of electronica and hip-hop is not shy of musical collaborations having remixed a number of his fellow contemporaries including Mogwai and Boards of Canada. In the latest delivery a host of artists have been drafted in including Har Mar Superstar, Fabrizio Moretti, drummer of The Strokes, Yo Majesty, Spank Rock and The Magic Numbers.
Stainless Style is a concept album inspired by the American playboy engineer John Delorean who developed the DeLorean DMC-12 sports car, most famously used in the film, Back To The Future (1985). The 80s car theme runs coherently throughout with some highly provocative artwork looking like it came straight out of The Face. This is certainly an album du jour. Neon Theme, the first track, sounds suspiciously like something out of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and you would be forgiven for wondering if this was a weird sci-fi joke, but it's worth continuing. The second track Dream Cars comes in with a dirty electro beat, influenced by edgy '80s pop. Trick For Treat is an oddball mix of the smooth vocals of Rhys, rap from Spank Rock, and the enchanting sound of Eastern European gypsy violin cementing a harmonious whole. Rhys' influence bubbles through more fully in Steel Your Girl; a fluid indie track that will have you humming for days.
Appealing to electro, pop, indie, and hip-hop fans alike Stainless Style slips effortlessly between a vast array of musical camps, paying homage to the intuitive capabilities of Rhys and Hollon. It's a worthy collaboration that constantly gives evidence of two minds working on very different frequencies and finds a natural comparison in Damon Albarn's The Good, The Bad, And The Queen project, where afrobeat, punk and space rock seemed such easy bedfellows. The strength of this particular creation lies in the same playful interpretation of different genres. A post-modern wonder, as sleek as its subject matter.