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Mr Oizo – Lambs Anger (Ed Banger)

Continuing with our theme of society’s musical bugbears, spare a thought for Ed Banger.

Along with similarly gallic electro-pop label Kitsuné Music, they have been soundtracking more fashionable dancefloors for the best part of this decade, picking up from where Daft Punk and, er, ele*trocl*sh left off. The fashion link stems from the shared love of glamour, shameless pop hits of the 80s and  general extroverted hedonism. Like power-dressing with shoulder pads, this is power-dance music.

The eternal complaint leveled against music with such a trend orientated ethos (Kitsuné is itself an offshoot of a clothing label) is a lack of depth, sincerity, or enduring value. It’s viewed as throwaway music inspired by the seasonal nature of fashion collections, blankly plundering the past to steal ideas at face value. The problem with these criticisms are, of course, that they’re bollocks. Sure, the transient, empty nature of the fashion world chills to the bone but I’ve no reason to let that affect my view of these musicians – wherever they draw their inspiration from. Also, dismissing music based on its audience or commercial success is snobbery of the highest order.

Interview with Busy P, Ed Banger head honcho

Ed Banger have been arguably the most successful of the two labels, launching the careers of shady figureheads Justice whilst releasing an uninterrupted stream of boisterous dancefloor destroyers. They’ve also developed an original furrow to plow – hyper distorted digital noise pop. At times desperately intense but always with a brain-melting dayglo hue, like whacking the colour saturation on your TV up to 100% until everything bleeds together. Justice reined it back a little on their MTV theme tune ‘D.A.N.C.E.’ but generally fly the flag, leaving SebastiAn to be it’s most ardent and dedicated fan.

Justice – ‘D.A.N.C.E.’

SebastiAn – ‘Ross Ross Ross’

Which leaves today’s subject, Mr. Oizo, in an odd position. Known to all since the 90s (thanks to his head nodding mascot Flat Eric in that Levi’s advert) so probably the scene’s most veteran member, his music has at once influenced and been influenced by Ed Banger’s output to date. ‘Lambs Anger’ is his first album since 2005 and sitting amongst its fellow releases it seems positively restrained.

To be fair, it’s still dance drawn with a big chunky pen. All the sounds fit together like oversize Lego and there’s ear popping over-compression throughout, albeit to a lesser extent. It just feels a lot more playful, less over-sexed and less overpowering. It flows like a party record, peppered with short ‘skit’ like tracks between the more obvious peaks, and peaks it has: ‘Steroids’ is some wonderfully stripped back double-dutch, ‘Positif’ channels Switch-esque grinning fidgit-house and ‘Bruce Willis Is Dead’ rocks some charmingly demented idiot-bass. There’s even *gasp* a worthwhile version of ‘It Takes Two’ (‘Two Takes It’ in this case) – Possibly even the best track.

‘Two Takes It’

‘Steroids’

I like it. It’s fun. Whilst that doesn’t necessarily make it a good record, it makes it exceptional amongst dance albums that tend to be either a bunch of nose-bleed thrashers or just everything that particular artist hasn’t put out on vinyl yet. It’s a party record, It made me want to leave the house and have a good time – isn’t that what dance music’s about?

Right, I’m off. Bye!

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One Comment

  1. wicked, me likey!


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