Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Those who enjoyed the bubblegum-pop soul groove of one-man band debut album "At Breakfast Dinner Tea" may be surprised here. For on the lead track of “The Chevreul” EP, The Voluntary Butler Scheme goes chip-core. Well not quite. But ‘Do The Hand Jive’ is a fidgety glitch-fest of stop-start rhythms and stuttering chants that is proudly - even defiantly - low-tech. But repeated plays and a little mental re-framing of expectations and the pop hooks shine through. It is deeply, even luridly, addictive.

Those looking for more reassuring sounds will enjoy the sentimentality and melody of ‘To The Height of a Frisbee’. Here dance-around-the-room carefree abandon and swinging guitar-pop meet fond, life-long commitment: "Grandad Jones / I’ll care for your bones". It could easily fit on 2009’s "At Breakfast Dinner Tea" in a way the remaining two instrumentals could not. ‘Satisfactory Substitute’ sounds exactly what you think DJ Shadow’s ‘Organ Donor’ recreated in a suburban West Midlands back bedroom would – jerky keyboard pulses, a plummy voiced, very English vocal sample and endearingly daft. ‘D.O.P.L’ is a cheesy casiotone and drum machine shuffle that is fun but feels incidental.

Rob Jones has said he found his first attempt at a follow-up album too predictable – hence he has taken his time to cut-up, remix and relocate The Voluntary Butler Scheme sound. But there’s still a familiarity in the bedroom boffin budget approach, the melodic hooks and how he has made throwaway experimentation sound fun and engaging despite the departures. It won’t be a re-run of "At Breakfast Dinner Tea" but there’s enough here to keep anticipation for second album “Grandad Galaxy” due this year high. A plucky, pleasurable side-step forwards.

The Voluntary Butler Scheme The Chevreul [BUY]

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