People Press Play - People Press Play
George Bass 30/04/2007
Morr Music continue their trend of scalpel-sharp quality control with latest signing People Press Play: a Danish quartet whose thirty-eight minute debut goes about crossbreeding post-rock, Björk-like electronica and good old fashioned synthesiser pop, all the while treading the line between echoing their inspirations and rubberstamping a musical hybrid of their own. Not the easiest of tasks, but the crisp, otherwordly production and honed composition on their self-titled venture show they can outrun the danger normally afforded in trying to homogenise several genres - namely that you end up making a record received with a universal indifference rather than a ticker-tape parade from only one slice of the pie chart. From the get-go, it's apparent that all Mssrs Remmer, Skaaning, Knak and Ms Savery want to do is make music that tickles as many neurons as possible, while ensuring that the listener has a bloody good time in the meanwhile.
The four thinktanks' worth of ideas they've come up with have been cast and folded over one another, similar to the way in which steel is smelted into swords and no doubt destined to spark off a bidding war at some next-millennial vinyl convention. These Days (which is about as far from Bon Jovi as Alec John Such) gives vocalist Sara Savery the full lux of the limelight, her spearmint-cool delivery exfiltrating a backdrop of cherry red Casio bleeps and ice cream sirens, sketching out suggestions of Ulrich Schnauss using Morse code to order a 99. If the prospect of that doesn't make your mouth water, you might want to get your taste buds swabbed for signs of life. It's not all daisychain innocence, though, and the atmosphere is taken to a spookier dimension with Studio; a fallback to the centrifugal laments of Orbital album tracks and with plenty of acoustic nattiness to stove off the threat of skipability. There's even enough time for a quick jaunt into indieland with Always Wrong, which uses a looped refrain of 'You always were' to mimic a punchdrunk Speak & Spell with a vocab module tic.
Rather than alternately committing to variables of slowcore, digital twee and rave lite, People Press Play try to stick to a middle ground and make it as fertile as possible, repeatedly doing so with the greenfingered wizardry of a most-wanted dopefarmer. The ethereal keychanges and two-phase clattery of Girl are like Opus III's Fine Day strapped to a runaway flatcar, and Before Me uses Savery's icy breath to carry tonal confetti deep into an ambient crevasse. As with the other machined elements of the album, it's devoid of the reclusive smarm proffered by the fiercer IDM straight-edgers, and opts for a skin of Hot Chip future pop rather than a brick-shittingly scary gush of programmed mayhem. Having soundtracked the autumnal whimsy of Kevin Shields' first day at school with Everything, they move on to pay tribute to their more grandoise role models and bow down at the altar of Vanessa Williams with exitpiece Stop, which takes the sound they've expounded over the course of the album and lets it calmly swell like low tide lapping at the shores of some tropical atoll. Under the circumstances, it takes a willpower worthy of Special Forces not to strip down to your smalls, dive in and chill, and more or less crystalises the ethic the band work into their songwriting. People Press Play manage to take 21st century weariness and make it feel sweet as a chocolateer, whilst at the same time showing how it's possible to reboot something that's moved you for a coming generation. Though not as bankable as the likes of Sound Of Silver, it's alive with a professionally-moderated passion and offers bucketloads of jollity for those prepared to give it a try. Think shoegaze for anyone eyeing up a pair of Heelys.