Animaux Surround - Captures’s a quite pleasant world to listen into, this world of Animaux Surround; despite all the doom and gloom and all the languid, woozy synths and deadpan vox.

A slightly bonkers record; the laddie can’t sing for toffee but that matters not a hoot here: it’s all about context innit? The reason I ended up reviewing this is a simple one; I received a mail with the single sentence “hey, I’m dancing”. Fair enough, if yer man’s dancing, I’ll give it a spin I thought. Then I may dance too. But, to quote Neville Chamberlain, I have to tell you now... if this is what Animaux Surround call dance music we might as well all give up, tout suite. The opener, Room, is a drowsy synth plod, but none the worse for that: you note whilst listening that it increasingly sounds like a tape that is slowing down; when the vocals turn up (to prop up the near horizontal keys) the singing is a French take on Bernard Sumner at his most lacklustre; just at the point you thing it can’t get any more half arsed, a guitar basically spunks a solo over the top of the track. It’s a saving moment though the tracks “core energy levels” aren’t raised in any way. Later Further chases its own tail for two minutes, the deadpan vox emphasising the sense of fruitless activity.

After these two, FAQ is a real surprise, a depressed monologue that sounds nothing like the previous tracks, it actually reminds me of Minny Pops a bit; the sad accordion sound is actually a brilliant accompaniment here, the dolorous feel again reminds me of New Order: it’s like a bedroom (or zinc topped café bar) take on We All Stand. The excellent and straightforward Enough has that Minny Pops declamation thing going on too… “It seems that enough isn’t enough neither” is an great line, too. Of course it all unravels at 1 mile an hour. Spam is a more vigorous track, also boasting a deep French voice talks over the top of some strident keys. You can’t beat sonorous sounding French blokes to make everything sound ridiculously, pompously camp, even if they talk about urgent and important matters… Until Now is another plodalong: “I’m exhausted of being myself” is the line we get and a suitably repetitive keyboard pattern reinforces the message… It’s actually powerful stuff. Nausea is suitably miserable: what sounds like a clavichord is accompanied miserably along its way by a procession of random notes and beats. Then we get a female voice rabbiting on about a state of nausea which signals a more determined synth sound or two. It’s all very 1978. It’s very French. I like it.

The whole social alienation rap is woven through the LP to be honest, with tracks like Thus It Is Morning, Many Days and Tweeter pushing the message of loneliness and disengagement. The latter is a piano-driven French language address, probably about Twitter. It’s suitably maudlin. But it’s a quite pleasant world to listen into, this world of Animaux Surround; despite all the doom and gloom and all the languid, woozy synths and deadpan vox. You should take a deep breath, and settle down to listen in. Just don’t expect to be enlightened.