Fxa Electric Sound of Summer (CD Rocket Girl)

 

After a long absence Fxa return with the impressive Electric Sound of Summer. The album features all the hallmarks youd expect from Fxa, organ sounds, retro sounding drum machines, imaginative cover versions and a generally mellow laidback vibe.

Randall Nieman is joined on this album by a long list of collaborators all of whom have a long history of being involved with some of the better moments of past years.  Appearing on tracks here are Tom Meade, Mark Refoy, Richard Formby, Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Willie B Carruthers, Stephen Lawrie, Jerry Hope, Sarah Peacock and Kyle Chunco.  With a bunch of people like that youd want something pretty spectacular and with Electric Sound of Summer Fxa have managed to live up to the combined expectation this line up produce.

Theres three cover versions here. A fifteen minute version of Suicides Cheree that stays fairly faithful to the original whilst adding a very Spectrum/Spacemen 3 like feel to it and a long ambient drum-less dreamy five minute mid section which has some nice backwards sounds allowing it to all slowly build back to its original feel. Our Lips Are Sealed is a track I was only familiar with from Fun Boy Three so I was surprised to find it on here (I have subsequently leaned its a Go-Gos song) and Sarah Peacock adds suitably subtle ethereal vocals to the very drifting cocooning keyboard sequences present here.  The final cover is of Daniel Johnstons  Some Things Last a Long time. I actually prefer this to the Daniel Johnston version. Its slightly phased keyboards and slow vocals give a fitting background to the lyrics and add a poignancy to them. Its the last track on the album and is a fitting way to end it.

The other pieces here are Fxa originals and have the sounds youd expect. The heavy use of keyboards and stripped back drum rhythms are there but  theres also some lovely guitar work on the waltz like I Love You. Marty Suicide you have to assume is a tribute to Marty Rev and appropriately has a drum rhythm straight off the first Suicide album. SWF Twenty 0 Two is the most unusual piece on the album sounding like Tangerine Dream meeting up with Expo 70 and having a jam. Its a fairly short piece but it would be good to see Randall producing a whole album of tracks with this flavour. The track Electric Sound of Summer is a sort of loungey piece with a shuffling drum rhythm very much at odds with the rhythmic feel of the rest of the album and a heap of brass sounds act as the front man. You could easily imagine Laetitia Sadier singing in French over the top of it. The final Fxa original on here is Thank You Jesus. Its piano riff gives it a suitably Gospel feel to start with until it changes tack completely and morphs into another more loungey brass and ambient echoey throbbing piece as it successfully takes down the mood for the transition into Some Things Last a Long Time.

It may have taken a decade to get a new Fxa album but it really has been well worth the wait. This has rarely strayed far from my Cd player since it arrived and I dont see it moving very far away from it too soon. DB

Contact: www.rocketgirl.co.uk