Album of the year contenders #1 – Death By Chocolate – Bric-A-Brac

As someone who had a bit of an obsession with El Records’ campy English pop from the late 80s I knew from the off that I was going to love this! In fact if there was any justice in the world, the Mercury Prize wouldn’t be going to a load of pseuds from Cambridge with a thing for Madrigals, but their fellow Anglians with a penchant for easy, cheesy, psych and jazz. For the third Death By Chocolate album, their first for a nigh on a decade, is quite possibly their best yet. The formula hasn’t changed a great deal, twee girly vocals, funky keyboard-driven instrumentals and bizarre voice interludes, but on Bric-a-Brac they sound better, and smarter than ever. If anything it sounds better because very few people in the world are making music like this.

It kicks off with a spoken word menu from an Italian restaurant in to the 60s before launching into a very funky version of the the theme tune to ‘Are You Being Served’ which is as bizarre as it sounds. A few moments later and you have have learnt the names of Russian astronauts on the very groovy Stereolab-esque instrumental ‘Kosmonaut’ and sped round the south coast on the album’s pure pop highlight Bantam Motorbike. Other highlights are Day Out, which sounds like a orphan from a late 60s musical and Dining With Death which features spoken vocals over a driving beat that quite unexpectedly blossoms into a another glorious 60sish pop tune.

Alas it is all over way too soon. Here’s hoping they don’t leave it so long next time.

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