Release Date: Oct 12, 2010
Record label: Melodic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
There was a brief moment around 2006 when there seemed to be a new movement of krautrock-inspired indie dance bands. As if updating the sounds of Madchester for the 21st century, Working for a Nuclear Free City's debut joined albums by Caribou, 120 Days, and Fujiya & Miyagi, ready to soundtrack rainswept city errands or some idealized Factory-like party. Fast-forward to 2010, and Caribou has once again changed pace with the beatific Swim; Fujiya & Miyagi are doing their own quirky thing, admitting they "were just pretending to be Japanese"; and man, it's been a while since we heard from Norway's 120 Days.
It’s easy to initially be put off by the particulars of Jojo Burger Tempest, the second album from Working for a Nuclear Free City. There is, for example, the fact that Jojo is a double album, a detail which often indicates a band struggled to trim the fat off the raw recording session material. There’s also the fact that this album clocks in, all told, at just under an hour and a half—a run time longer than probably at least half of the movies playing at your local theatre, and another indicator of excess bagginess.
If the opening track of an album is meant to give an indication of what is to follow, then ‘Do A Stunt’ does just that for Working For A Nuclear Free City on Jojo Burger Tempest. It is an instrumental introduction which, in less than three minutes, covers electro and funk via sections of mariachi guitar, grooving bass and quirky sci-fi synths. It feels like being taken on a light-speed tour of the band’s studio, absorbing their entire record collection on the way.
If a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, then no matter how great the temptation, it would be unfair to skewer ambient Manchester group Working for a Nuclear Free City for the unfortunate title of Jojo Burger Tempest or its random-irreverence-for-random-irreverence’s-sake, toy-baby-in-pilot-gear cover art. It is, however, entirely acceptable to fault the talented, semi-shoegaze band for reveling in self-indulgence like oblivious pigs in mud. No matter how beautifully chasmal or effectively dreamy this 18-track double album gets, it’s still the sonic equivalent of a band rolling happily around in their own filth.
The Manchester band’s third LP shifts moods with stirring regularity. Martin Aston 2010. First, the Manchester four had to pick an unwieldy band name. Then they go and choose something baffling for their third album. At least 2007’s Businessmen & Ghosts had a much more manageable handle. But ….