BLACK DEVIL DISCO CLUB: Eight Oh Eight (Lo Recordings)


Posted on Jul 1st 2008 10:51 pm

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Black Devil Disco Club: Eight Oh Eight

Eight Oh Eight
Lo Recordings 2008
06 Tracks. 32mins26secs

Black Devil Disco Club have probably already guaranteed their own place in the musical annals of the era by mere virtue of their curio status. According to the official line, Rephlex unearthed their rarer than rare 1978 debut Disco Club in 2006, and released it again to an unsuspecting nation. How an album goes unheard for so long before re-emerging on the label of known prankster Richard D. James is anyone’s guess, but the truth is that nobody really seems sure who they are. Two shadowy Parisian musicians seem to be the main culprits. But many point the finger elsewhere, with James or Luke Vibert in the role of svengali.

Of course, if the people behind the music showed their face, that would put an end to the mystery – and perhaps to the interest in the music itself. For while the Moroder-esque synths and submerged vocals of their work are fun after a fashion, would they really warrant this much attention without a narrative to keep us going?

Eight Oh Eight probably helps to answer that question, because in truth it is not a very good album. Perhaps if played as pastiche or with a certain amount of tongue in cheek, it can be tolerated, but there is too little here to catch the ear. Tracks like Free For The Girls, with their wailing vocal chants and cheesy riffs, bring to mind countless mid-eighties movies starring Judge Reinhold. And while this might work as nostalgia, as anything else it is simply tiring.

The sad reality of the record is that this track is one of many that underwhelm the listener into indifference. Open The Night blends robotic voices with obscure, desperate vocals and manic keyboard stabs. Acid squelches and bizarre oriental melodies might fill out the melody, but they add little to it. Opener With Honey Cream follows a similar pattern, although its zany circular tune at least captures attention, for all that the rest of the track fails to augment it.

The one saving grace is For Hoped, which almost feels like a track from a different album entirely. After the disappointment of the first five numbers, the invention and craft here is little short of astounding. Infectious, shape-shifting harmonies zip about like quarks, one idea rapidly being knocked aside by another. The vocals work, the synthesisers are in line – everything is definitely on the button. But while this track is a paragon of perfect pop timing, it merely helps to point the inadequacy of what went before it.


Black Devil Disco Club (MySpace) | Lo Recordings
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