SLF&Co. – No Beats In Algebra

4 out of 10

Opener Intro (Spag Bol) gets the release on track for how SLF&Co. mean to go on: an intriguing electronic beat that is neither building nor ambient, just a kind of bland and bizarre more than anything else. The end flows nicely into second track Looking For A Map though, which has some chilling vocal harmonies and a guitar part to match. The addition of piano dischords into the mix gives the effect of further confusion and mystery. The lasting impression is a combination of a slightly psychotic-seeming musician base and vocals to work well over the top.

Third track O Romeo (That Burning Smell) is where it starts to get weird though. It sounds like someone has recorded a flamenco guitarist/singer, detuned it to make it sound psychedelic then mixed it up in a studio with electronic beats to make it try to fit with the other tracks. This is contrasted with fourth track Red which features vocals from Vicky Harrison. This version is a Lord Fluffy & SLF remix so it doesn’t sound right for the vocals: the beat overpowers the melody to the extent that at parts it is almost totally inaudible.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rest of the tracks are just as weird. YrAFlowerButYrStenchIsMoreSoWicked sounds like a sitar is playing throughout with some electronic beats and synthesisers to make it more than just the single instrument. Back Scratcher has a good riff that is strangely mixed and the vocals sound out of place for a lot of the track, and the closing track Pop Sensibility sounds like something Die Antwoord would put out. It’s hard to believe someone could challenge their crown as champions of odd music but it seems SLF&Co. have made a pretty good effort.

Perhaps the saving grace of the group is Deaf Kiwi, which sounds like a remixed rap rock track which actually works. There’s a recurring riff that is incredibly catchy and the vocals are well performed and well mixed. It breaks down for an electronic sample break before coming back just as strongly to finish up on a high.

Overall, SLF&Co. have produced a bizarre group of songs that doesn’t work at all as a collection, though have moments of promise that could be built-on in the next release. The collection flows in its own way which is very much different from most in the market these days – oddly with the exception of Die Antwoord, and a collaboration between these two artists would be the one of strangest things to come from the music industry ever.

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