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Builder's Brew

The Chap

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Album Review

Although it's hard to imagine the Chap getting much odder than they do on their albums, they manage to do so with Builder's Brew's mix of remixes, B-sides, and covers. Things start out simply enough with the radio edit of "Proper Rock," the Mega Breakfast single dedicated to "proper songs, real emotions, massive tunes." Perversely enough, this version of the song has fewer guitars than the album edit, but it's just as playful and bombastic as ever — and the best part of the song's arch wit is still that it rocks, emphatically. From there, Builder's Brew gets consistently stranger, but that's the most consistent thing about it. "Un Deux Trois Boxen" sounds like an assembly line of pain recorded at a box making factory: it chugs along on a rinky-dink rhythm, a precise bassline, mechanical clanking and the occasional "ow!," offering little besides novelty. "Nice Face" is weirder still, setting a ruthlessly critical breakdown of physical attributes to an insistent beat; disappointingly, it doesn't develop much over its six-minute length. The cover of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It" that closes Builder's Brew plays like deadpan silliness for silliness' sake, although it's a nicely surreal touch when Johannes Von Weizsäcker's laughter turns into a screeching violin. The collection manages to hit slightly more often than it misses thanks to "Brace Brace," a whispery, satirical example of the Chap's sci-fi disco-rock at its catchiest — in fact, it rivals more than a few of the tracks that made it onto Mega Breakfast. The remixes are also winners, especially "Ethnic Instrument (Joakim Remix)," which transforms the song into an Afro-pop/electro-house workout, and "Caution Me (Thee More Shallow Remix)," which gives another of Mega Breakfast's standouts a "proper rock" makeover and a slightly sinister cast. Builder's Brew's best moments are undeniably fun and Chap fans who don't already own these tracks will appreciate that they've been gathered here, but oddly, it doesn't rise much above a typical odds and sods collection in terms of quality.

Biography

Formed: London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

British electro-rock band the Chap were formed in North London by Claire Hope (keyboards, vocals), Johannes Von Weizsäcker (guitar, vocals, cello), Panos Ghikas (bass, violin, guitar, vocals), and Keith Duncan (drums). They released a 10" EP, Fun, on Lo Recordings in April 2002. Their debut album, The Horse, was released on April 28, 2003, followed on September 29, 2003 by the EP (Hats Off To) Dror Frangi. Their second full-length album, Ham, was released on June 27, 2005. A second EP, The Chop,...
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Builder's Brew, The Chap
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