F In Math – Couch EP (Flying Nun/Warner) CD REVIEW

In truth, I never really saw what the fuss was about Auckland band Mint Chicks. A sense of fun pervaded their gigs and recordings, and we all needed a dose of that. In retrospect, however, there’s little aftertaste, just a sense of promise.
Maybe that promise will flower with new projects from several former members. Out almost simultaneously is the first album by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, aka Ruban Nielson. Unfortunately, despite being sporadically intriguing, it’s recorded in such an intentionally lo-fi way that there’s little joy for anyone who appreciates good sound quality.
F In Math (aka bassist Michael Logie) make a light-hearted but sometimes poignant type of warped electro-pop, and it’s hard to see their real potential from the six brief songs of the Couch EP, but it’s a tasty primer. It sounds okay, too.
Those who already feel the world has overdosed on vocoders should steer their crafts elsewhere. Personally, I’m a fan of vocoders (and any other type of vocal treatments apart from the obscenity of autotuning) and they’re perfectly aligned to the chugging synth patterns and frumpy bass of F In Math, and fit just as well with the somewhat potty, daft, free-range lyrics. You’ll get the idea from song titles like ‘Elephant Heart’, and my favourite, ‘Fish Of Pre-History’.
Its playful, twisted musicality reminds me of Japanese genius Cornelius, but without the endless levels of production refinement. What we have here is comparatively raw, but never less than good fun. GARY STEEL
MUSIC = 3.5
SOUND = 3.5

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