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Mutant Beatniks - 'Fountain' (self released) 4/5

 Now for something completely out of leftfield, and to be honest I'm not sure if you can call this music.I had better explain. Mutant Beatniks are a loose collective of producers and sound technicians working out of Bath in the UK. They take a radical approach to their work, using 'found sounds' - sometimes location recordings, other times sounds found on old tapes and videos salvaged from charity shops,  and snippets of radio and TV broadcasts; to create audio sculptures and sound scape paintings. 

Its hard to describe or compare this stuff with anything else, the closest I can think of is maybe the early sonic experimentation of White Noise, or those linking sections you find on some of the early Hawkwind albums. Haunting noises flow in and out of your hearing, cats cries transmute into the sound of sea gulls and into waves, bagpipe drones become inter weaving sonic strands that play tag around your hearing range, snippets of conversation become 'almost' drum beats.... Its very hard to describe, and has to be experienced to be understood.

The best way to experience this, or any other Mutant Beatniks material (there are a fair few albums about), is in a darkened room, with head phones and just trance out as the sound flows over you. It is a most enjoyable sonic experience I assure you. There are 15 tracks on offer here, but it would be wrong to single out any moment for praise above any other moment. Listening to this album is like walking around an art instillation, it must be enjoyed as a whole to gain the full impact of this remarkable work.

Is this music, is this sonic art? I don't know, but I do know it is a most interesting and rewarding sonic experience.

For Fans of... Avant-garde experimentation, and sonic art.

 'Fountain' can be downloaded free from here...

Kids In Glass Houses - 'In Gold Blood' (roadrunner) 4/5

This is the third full length opus from young Cardiff based upstarts Kids In Glass Houses, and marks a significant change from their older material. This album has ditched a lot of the pop punk sensibilities and sees the band heading in a more mainstream rock direction. Now I know this may cause the inevitable cries of 'sell out' from some of their older fans, but it will also make many people, like myself, who were not overly struck on their older material give them a second look.

To be honest In Gold Blood is a great rock album, Tracks Like Teenage Wonderland, Gold Blood and Animals are superb slices of commercial rock, catchy hooks, danceable beats and infectious grooves, yet at the same time intelligently constructed with great lyrics.And I've gotta give praise to the rhythm section of Andrew Shay and Philip Jenkins for driving the whole thing along with such energy.

Stand out tracks?  Well every one of the 11 songs on offer here is a winner, but I do have a particular liking to Fire with its lazy back beat and late night sax solo, Diamond Days - which sounds a little like a Don Henley track and Black Crush which provides the albums true rock out moment.

In a world where the commercial rock scene is too often dominated by bland insipid uninspiring tripe (yes Nickleback, Theory of A Deadman, 30 Seconds To Mars - I AM looking at you), this album is a breath of fresh air. Highly Recommended.

for fans of... Fightstar, Funeral For A Friend, Lostprophets, 30 Seconds To Mars etc...