Stop the panic--start the joy!
FlangeMechanism | 11/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The last album from the inimitable Luke Vibert (a.k.a. Wagon Christ & Plug), Tally-Ho!, was such an unexpected boon to my collection that for a while I held off on getting Stop the Panic, worrying that there was no way anyone, even a wunderkind of Vibert's caliber, could come up with something to equal the beautiful intensity of "Memory Towel," "Shimmering Haze," "Piano Playa Hata" and "Rendleshack." Fortunately, my own panic was baseless.You have to admit, though, it seems an unlikely combination: Vibert's electronic freneticism with a live steel guitar thrown into the mix. One might assume that Vibert would allow the guitar to dominate and simply settle for building his beats around it. But someone assuming that would have to be unaware of Vibert's formidable abilities, of what a freaking genius the guy is. Instead he conjures his usual ecclectic stew, using Cole as a master chef would use a potent, exotic spice, exercising a judicious flair. After a teasing, folksy spoken intro by Cole--a track that would've come off as a lame joke from anyone else, yet, under Vibert's sure hand, becomes a catchy and tantalizing groove all its own--a wash of sci-fi foley takes us to "Swing Lite--Alright," in which Vibert and Cole hit the ground running, letting us know that it's on. The twanging slide guitar creates a synergy that takes Vibert's triphop to a whole new level, imbuing it with a mellow flavor perfectly reflected in the color of the album's sleeve, something between powder blue and steel. The result is so amazing that if Vibert decided to abandon his Wagon Christ persona and continue this sort of collaboration with Cole for the remainder of his career, I would really have no problem with it whatsoever."Dischordzilla," however, is puzzling, a non-descript and overlong lull which, if it had to make the album at all, should've been buried with the B-sides. The album pops into neutral for 4.5 minutes, but then comes "Start the Panic," and if you're not hooked at that point, you'd better check yourself for a pulse. This is the album's powerhouse, eerie yet energizing--Vibert's specialty, and he's never done it better than this. "Yo man check this out--check-check this out! Kick some more flavor ..." "Hipalong Hop" is a banjo-happy barnyard stomp in the vein of Aphex Twin's "Logan Rock Witch," while "Fly Hawaii" is a nearly indescribable trip: it sidewinds stealthily along the sand before soaring suddenly into the wild blue yonder, yet keeps one eye fastened firmly on the beach.The clutch pops into neutral again with the so-so "This Stuff is Fresh," and things nearly coast to a halt with "Cheng Phooey." Okay, it's great that Cole's mastered the cheng and all; but Vibert, of all people, should've been able to figure out something more interesting to do with it than a lame pastiche of Orbital's "Semi-Detached." Actually, this track is how a lesser artist might've handled the whole entire album, and I suppose we're lucky that, for the most part, Vibert had more vision.Then comes "Baby Steps" ... oh boy. How can I describe this? Improbably cloying at first listen, this track becomes incredibly catchy the more you hear it, then insanely catchy. And am I just some kind of sicko, or is there something almost subliminally erotic going on here? At the very least, you have to admit that Holly Penfield's baby-talk has a lavish sensuality. Then the groove level goes through the roof again with "Party Animal," four minutes of swaying bliss, which from this point on should become a staple for all luaus everywhere. Luke Vibert, we love you! Jimmy Buffett, eat your heart out.The album plunges into its third nadir with "Nice Cave," which sounds like something that got cut from Moby's Play; and I don't know what "Watery Glass Planet (pt. 3)" is about, nor do I really want to know.Things pick up at the end for "Songs of the Night Life," a clever, extended reprise of the intro (which, you will notice, includes the P-Wing foley from Super Mario Bros. 3). My advice is to program your CD player to play tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 13, hit the repeat button, and let Vibert and Cole take it from there. Oh, and a billowy Hawaiian shirt and an enormous thatched sun hat will help, too. Aloha."
Summer all year long
geepnerd | Holland | 04/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the most brilliant cd i have ever bought.It`s summer all year long when you own this magnificent work of art. it`ll make you happy"