Losers - Beautiful Losers
Owain Paciuszko 08/10/2010
XFM DJ Eddy Temple-Morris and The Cooper Temple Clause's Tom Bellamy have joined creative forces and formed this trio (Camilla Morris plays drums) creating electro-pop which nods towards the dancefloor Soulwax via the likes of Faithless and Underworld.
Opening track Three Colours has big, beefy bass, grinding synths and sturdy drumming with a dry narration commenting 'This is my dancefloor' as the track shifts into Leftfield-territory and becomes a scuzzy euphoria tune. No Man Is An Island (Losers Theme) is all clattering klaxon synths over an 808 beat, the vocals a vocoder robo monologue that winds up listing bands ('Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails...') and thus the track bares a startling similarity to Soulwax's cover of Teachers from their Nite Versions record.
Nothing Will Die begins with samples from David Lynch's Elephant Man over ethereal guitar, then a lame vocoder voice begins chanting the title occasional and the music lumbers into a swamp of electro familiarity, that on its chorus couldn't be closer to - yet again - Soulwax's Any Minute Now record. If I wasn't a big fan of that particular Soulwax record, and hadn't heard it at any point in my life thus far, I'd probably be reasonably impressed by the thunderous fuzz of this album, though the robotic vocals are off-putting. Unfortunately it sits on the wrong side of 'homage' and feels like a copy of a copy of a copy.
Flush seems like a parody of Queen's theme from Flash Gordon until the Brit rap starts up asking; 'Why you gettin' all gobby?' The vocals stagger around between sounding like The Streets and Mel B's 'rap' on Wannabe. It's at least a dementedly inventive track even if it's kind of like sandwiching two horrible substances together, and though it doesn't taste as bad as eating the substance seperately it's still pretty poor. Elsewhere the lengthy Never Meant To Be waffles about like The Chemical Brothers Star Guitar being played under a mattress. It lacks the brothers artful craft for building from a slow start into an all out frenzy that encourages even the most self conscious of dancefloor dwellers to let go of their inhibitions, instead it sounds like a party you're not invited to.
Azan works better, grumbling off of a bass riff that is straight out of the 'How to sound like Massive Attack' guidebook, but it's a delicious riff regardless and complimented well by strings and peculiar oscilating vocals that sound like your clapping your hands on and off of your ears rapidly. As it draws towards a cinematic finale it shifts gears into sounding like Craig Armstrong's sweeping orchestral arrangements. Meanwhile Katana is a glitchy 8-bit-ish dance tune that feels overlong barely two minutes into its six minute running time. There are elements of Black Box's Ride On Time going on a funk odyssey in Talk to the Hand which is serviceable if forgettable filler, like the bridging mix between two awesome tunes during a DJ set. Final track is a cover of Jane's Addiction track Summertime Rolls with Brian Molko on guest vocals (sounding oddly like Liam Gallagher at times), it's a restrained affair with a slight guitar melody trudging on with waves of guitar noise swooshing in the background before lurching into a pop beat as it waddles towards its close.
The thing about Losers is that they have all the right influences and the requisite ability with their respective instruments, they just haven't been able to take those influences and make something that isn't totally derivative or inspired. It's always baffling when a record which seemingly sets out to be a 'party' album is relentlessly dull, but each 'thumping beat' just falls flat and every 'banging' tune goes off with a whimper.