Review: And One – Bodypop 1 ½

So after many months of delays we have And One’s newest album and quite an adventure it is too. And by adventure I mean the kind where you are lost in a foreign jungle where nothing makes sense and everything seems just slightly wrong vis-a-vis everything you otherwise knew. 

And One have often been pretty hit and miss (more miss than hit, truth be told, but when they hit the nail on the head it has really, peculiarly worked) over the years but their last album, Bodypop, was a delightful surprise. The bass a little punchier, the percussion a little heavier, the songcraft a little hookier, the album packed a nice punch. The lyrics were as ever, odd to say the least (blame the awkward German-English translation as much as anything but it still made for some entertaining moments), but songs like “Love You Until the End”, the stilted George Bush bashing “Master Master”, or the self-explanatory “Military Fashion Show”, stood up to the passage of time nicely and still bear listening with some regularity. The album was a real winner.

The bulk of this new adjunct album is made up of covers of a series of electropop songs ranging from Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”, to the Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s a Sin”, to Alphaville’s “Big in Japan”. All great songs, to be sure, but Steve Naghavi and co. do nothing with the material. Straight-up covers with not a whit of original contribution and Naghavi’s limited vocal chops leave one pining for the original versions. While the tracks themselves are kind of inspired choices, the band just don’t do anything particularly interesting, and with an occasionally muddy production applied to the songs, one is left wondering, “why”? Only their version of Yazoo’s incomparable “Only You” stands up as a nice, clean treatment of a song with which one can’t really go wrong (unless you are the Flying Pickets, the year is 1983 and you think a creepy a cappella version of the song is actually a good idea). 

The balance of the album is made up of underwhelming remixes of Bodypop-era songs and newer tracks like the sleepy, aforementioned “Paddy is My D.J.” and “Love is a Drug Abuser”. None of which add much to the album which finds itself sorely in need of something with a little heart. 

I look forward to And One’s next proper, full studio effort. They showed with Bodypop, they are capable of turning out a crackling record full of vital, fun electronic rock songs but with this stopgap album, they are employing the “one step forward, two steps back” philosophy, and we all know that’s no way to get where you really want to be.

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One Response to “Review: And One – Bodypop 1 ½”

  1. The covers are so disappointing. I’m always sadly astonished when a band covers a song without adding their own twist to it. Why cover it at all, if you’re not going to make some part of it your own? I fear that in the world of electronic music, the remix has taken the place of the remake (and so many listeners seem to be confused as to the difference between the two anyway).

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