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A decade in the making, Füxa – comprising Randall Nieman, alongside Tom Meade and special guests – returns with nine songs of supercharged seasonal splendour. Electric Sound of Summer is perhaps Nieman’s most cohesive record yet, in that the ever-present swirling synthesisers and uplifting melodies have been perfectly blended to form a new kind of pop music. It is at once heart-warming and goosebump-inducing – an album of stirring contrasts. Sophisticated guitar and piano lines share the sonic canvas with childlike, playful electronic experiments, evoking a spirit of both sun-blind optimism and wistful tranquillity.
The album is notable for a trio of inspired cover versions. On Daniel Johnston’s ‘Some Things Last a Long Time’, Britta Phillips’ (Luna, Dean and Britta) sumptuous vocals retain all the fragility and poignancy of the original, like an ice maiden slowly melting in a heat-wave. Elsewhere, Sarah Peacock (Seefeel, Scala) lends an eerie, claustrophobic air to ‘Our Lips are Sealed’, turning the GoGo’s/Fun Boy Three smash hit into a dark, menacing ode to secrecy and jealousy. The reverse effect is achieved on Füxa’s version of Suicide’s ‘Cheree’, whereby Nieman transforms the sparse, sensuous classic into an altogether more uplifting, hair-raising anthem, bubbling with dynamic, stomping drum patterns and Dean Wareham’s (Galaxie 500, Luna) reverb-rich vocals. Alongside the album’s ecstatic track ‘Marty Suicide’, ‘Cheree’ is the ultimate tribute to those torchbearers of synth-laden, sinister lullabies, Alan Vega and Martin Rev, with whom Nieman has collaborated in the past.
While the cover versions act as a centre piece of sorts – a Day Glo triptych showcasing the versatility of Nieman’s particular brand of pop – the instrumental pieces indulge the listener in their own arresting melodies, from the feelgood waltz ‘I Love You’ to the plaintive, piano-led ‘Thank You Jesus’. The variety on this album is a testament to both Nieman and his guests’ distinct talents. Other collaborators on Electric Sound of Summer include Mark Refoy (Spiritualized/Slipstream), Richard Formby (legendary producer, formerly of Spectrum), Stephen Lawrie (Telescopes), Willie B. Carruthers (Spacemen 3/ Spiritualized/ freelovebabies), Jerry Hope (the dust collectors) and Kyle Chunco (Saturn Batterie). The artwork is courtesy of the inimitable Anthony Ausgang: a fluid, cartoon-like composition which perfectly primes the listener for the playful delights within.
It is the cross-pollination of these collaborators’ talents which gives Electric Sound of Summer its strength and bottomless depth. It is a celebration of creativity; of community; of music past, present… and Füxa.
Darryl says: Top notch space-rock that blends bubbling and swirling synth soundscapes with melodic vocals. Guests include Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, and Seefeel's Sarah Peacock. Recommended.
1. A Billion Kilograms
3. I Love You
4. Our Lips Are Sealed
5. Marty Suicide
6. SWF Twenty-O-Two
7. Electric Sound Of Summer
8. Thank You Jesus
9. Some Things Last A Long Time