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Monster Bobby's initial musical reputation outside of his British home base may have been as songwriter for the Pipettes, but Gaps shows a different approach that's part Frank Sidebottom, part straight-up English indie pop whimsy. The former quality may be more apparent in concert, by all accounts, but the latter is all over the place on his debut full-length, a brisk collection of even brisker songs, 17 total over barely half an hour. A fair amount are essentially quick interstitial numbers of found sounds and similar randomness, but the formal songs themselves are good fun. He gets his best song title out of the way early: "The Closest Experience to That of Being with You Is the Experience of Taking Drugs" — but "Let's Check into a Hospital Together," detailing a couple happily in love and equally afflicted with diseases and plagues, is the best (and perhaps only) song of its kind since Monty Python. Working within a well-established vein as he does, Monster Bobby's goal is to stand out from the hordes of others over the years that assumed that all music began with the Field Mice; in this regard his secret weapon is to avoid recording a lo-fi bedsit collection and actually bring in a wide variety of performers. As a result, though the sound is rushed and sometimes engagingly spare (check the rushed stop-start drum breaks on "Blah Blah Blah [Give Up]"), the arrangements often have enjoyable depth and curve balls. As for Monster Bobby himself, his singing ranges from the smooth-as-heck to the frenetically merry, with his secret moment of glory probably being his assured sigh at the folly of others on "Last Stop, All Change."

Gaps, Monster Bobby
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