They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them – We Are All In The Gutter…

...wonky in every sense of the word

‘Wonky’ seems to be a musical buzz word at the moment.

Often blindly thrown around to represent anything that’s a bit off-kilter or just difficult to classify, the term in is serious danger of becoming a cliché before it’s even had the chance to develop a useful meaning. However, the oddly-monikered They Came From The Stars I Saw Them truly are… well, wonky in every sense of the word. Flitting schizophrenically between electro, prog, ska and even a bit of balladry (all done with a punk sensibility), all proceedings here are wonky as you like.

For example, everything on the album is underpinned by a bizarre psychedelic disco ethic, such as the thumpy, discordant groove of ‘(Down On The Dancefloor) Let’s Make Something R.E.A.L.’ which suddenly jaunts into a proggy jazz riff, interspersed by bursts of punk funk.

There’s also something thoroughly British about ‘We Are All In The Gutter…’ Perhaps it’s the nonsensical, strangely endearing lyrics of frontman Horton Jupiter (who was infamously a member of Pulp “for one day”), but most likely it’s the general sense of eccentricity that pours out of the album’s every note. Imagine an artier Dexy’s Midnight Runners, but tightened up with some electro thrown in and a bit… wonkier.

As you may have guessed, all this really shouldn’t work but completely does. A true example of the whole being greater, weirder and much more interesting than the sum of its parts. Take album opener ‘The HOT Inc.’, which has an infectious scatty bass hook that gets mangled and booted around the place by various instruments before settling into your subconscious for an inordinate amount of time. Very clever indeed.

So what is this creature that They Came From The Stars… have created? Modern day New Wave, Nu-New Wave, True Wave perhaps – Christ I don’t know, but for sure it’s wonkier than the most intense festival casualty you’ve ever seen trying to walk in straight line, and it’s also a bit brilliant – we need more music like this.

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