The opening of this album is pure science fiction cinema: we hear a massive audience cheering, while digital soundbytes [sic] rant over the top, too distorted to interpret. Rave beats start glowing into life, while evil synths bear down like oppressive robots. Somewhere up above, a spaceship hovers like a big blue whale, burping out space bubbles into the cosmos…
Welcome to the future, Datarock style. This album is loosely designed as a conceptual guide to an alternative reality where the 1980s and the forthcoming 50 years are melting into one era. And if you think that sounds a little bit loopy, wait till you find out that one song here – ‘True Stories’ – lifts all its lyrics from Talking Heads song titles.
Speaking of the devil, it could be argued that Talking Heads makes up the primary source of the ‘1980s’ half of the whole weirdo concept. They seem to haunt the record, particularly on the excellent soul-swagger of ‘The Pretender’, which also contains traces of David Bowie’s plastic soul era.
Elsewhere, we get a man ranting about his existential mortality crisis, while disco beats explode behind him (‘Fear of Death’). The track acts as a dividing line: by this point in the album, you’ll either be dancing like a twat, ironing out your receipt, or searching the liner notes for secret messages from God regarding the meaning of life.
It isn’t here, of course: you only have to look at their kinky tracksuits and wrap-around shades to know that Datarock are playing the conceptual prankster game, and that they probably know as much about what all this means as a monkey with wires attached to its brain does. Which basically leaves the tunes: some of them boogie-tastic, some of them lounge and passable.
In short, you can’t escape the feeling that this record sets itself up as the soundtrack to Blade Runner 3001: A Disco Odyssey – yet somewhere along the line the robots forgot to throw killer singles into the mix. As such, it’s a breezy laugh, but a wee bit in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.
Words: Ric Rawlins