Reduced to a cold, hard synopsis, Neon Neon's Stainless Style sounds like a joke. A collaboration between Super Furry Animals singer/songwriter Gruff Rhys and Los Angeles underground hip-hop/electronic producer Boom Bip, Neon Neon sounds like an unlikely pair on paper and they've made their partnership even stranger by creating a concept album about John DeLorean, the automobile industry maverick who was as notorious for his futuristic designs as for his 1982 arrest for drug trafficking, a charge he later beat yet which gave him a stigma he couldn't shake. It's a quintessential '80s tragedy which provides Neon Neon an opportunity to craft a quintessentially '80s tribute, something they deliver with startling accuracy on Stainless Style.
It’s misleading that the ‘80s are notoriously remembered as a decade of conspicuous consumption. At what time has “greed is good” not been a ruling mantra? Maybe one reason the ‘80s continue to recall bright lights and big cities so much is because of the abundance of the decade’s greedy icons. Like the fictional Gordon Gekko. Or the all too real John DeLorean.
Neon Neon's Stainless Style is a concept album home to at least two or three different concepts. First, the band itself is sort-of a novelty collaboration between Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals and eclectic electronic producer Boom Bip. Second, the disc is for the most part inspired by early-'80s electro-pop (albeit with a few striking deviations.) Finally and most importantly, Stainless Style is a rock opera meant to detail the rise and fall of urban-mythological figure John DeLorean.