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Album Review

The two albums of light and breezy, mod '60s lounge-psych, spoken-word-meets-soundtrack-to-The Avengers that Death by Chocolate released at the turn of the 2000s seemed like brilliant one-offs, never to be repeated. Amazingly, they returned ten years after Zap the World with a new album, Bric-a-Brac, which sounds like it could have been recorded ten minutes after they finished Zap. The group, now down to vocalist Angela Tillett, keyboard whiz Jez Butler, and Canadian soundtrack composer Jason Frederick, takes the same tongue-in-cheeky approach to its sound and delivers an album with exactly the same amount of silly fun and cocktail charm as exhibited before. The songs are short and sweet, topics ranging from new motorbikes, to the ever popular day out, to hotels of the 1960s, with Tillett's note-perfect spoken vocals surrounded by warm vintage keys, plinky drum machines, and a clean, sparkling production. As before, there's not a single bit of sweat or emotion on display; the album is pure smooth pleasure from start to finish. Though times have changed and the music seems even more quaint than it did in 2002, Bric-a-Brac has the benefit of being doubly nostalgic, calling to mind the easy space-age joys of the 1960s and the tail end of the cocktail revival. A welcome return in every way.


Genre: Alternative

Although he's not a musician and his name is almost completely unknown outside of a dedicated cult following, Mike Always is a legend in British indie pop circles. As the head of A&R for Cherry Red Records, he almost single-handedly invented the template of childlike yet sardonic irony that's the basis of what became known as twee pop, a concept he took to new and ever more over-the-top ends with his labels Blanco y Negro and (especially) El Records. Although he's slowed down since his mid-'80s heyday,...
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Bric-a-Brac, Death By Chocolate
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