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- Babysitting The Apocalypse by Pete Um
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Lo-fi contrarian and tireless enemy of mundanity Pete Um is back with yet another limited LP of his oddball ramblings and stuttering sample mayhem (nice to spot yours truly on the thanks list “for probably stocking 5”, too). There are 21 songs on this album and while the bedroom wonkiness is still present and correct it’s the most cohesive and accessible release I’ve heard yet from Um, with his brittle experimental weirdness draped around bona fide pop song structures.
The melodic, plodding space-pop vignettes he conjures tend to fall in territory somewhere in between Ariel Pink, the Clangers, Ergo Phizmiz, Bruce Haack, early Beck and perhaps a little Devo, but there’s passages of patient, loopy grooves in here that are reminding me of some of the hypnotic sampledelic weirdpop coming out of Clan Destine at the moment from the likes of Ela Orleans and Curt Crackrach.
There’s a current of humourous playfulness to the music, and Um isn’t really a man who could be accused of taking himself too seriously, but that’s tempered by a quite wistful, nostalgic psych-pop feel, with the lyrics often being somewhat introspective and self-deprecating. It’s a weird patchwork of sampley trip-hop, vintage computer sounds and thoughtful lyrics, but this seems more laboured-over than his previous works and to good effect. Far from the frantic lo-fi sprawl I was expecting, this is actually a cleverly paced, multifaceted and surprisingly coherent LP which I could listen to over and over. Hats off.
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