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Instant Wig Wam and Igloo Mixture

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Album Review

Over 20 years into his career, one-time Felt and Denim visionary Lawrence Hayward continues to amaze. On this album, he continues to blur the boundaries between enigmatic, silly, serious, and downright beautiful. "Here Is a Song" is pure pop bliss, driven by an impossibly sweet refrain and punctuated by the childish ambience of flute and video game blips. On this release, however, melody and goofy noodlings can be red herrings for complexity and acuteness. "Sailor Boy" drops Genet references to show the lewdness of what's actually going on. "Hip Op" is not about a genre of music, but the Queen Mum's surgery. But is Hayward being ironic or touching — or both? Irony is like a flitting shadow on this album (perhaps glimpsed — maybe not). With Instant Wigwam and Igloo Mixture, the inscrutable Lawrence continues to expand the possibilities of pop music — where prettiness and bile can co-mingle, and where hummability shrouds complexity. No easy answers, simply great listening.

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