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Napoleon (self titled album) av H

juni 30th, 2011 | Postad i Musik, Övrigt

For the benefit of international readers, this review is written in English. I hope.

Napoleon, the album.

Mr. Simon Mills (that’s Commander Mills to you) began previewing his new alter ego Napoleon in the summer of 2010. What would now amount to about a third of this album rightfully raised my interest. Now finally hearing the completed thing, I will let You know My opinion, because you obviously thrive on just that.

The small intro ”Destiny” appears, probably because there was a vocal sample that had to be used. This is followed by my favourite track of the previews, ”1973, 1975”. Some cut up vocals from Tears For Fears, and some choice years, complements this funky electronic track moving between the dance floor and the cold drink at the bar.

”Love of a Lifetime” uses bits of the Sally Oldfield tune of the same name in a tune that echoes of early house with a feeling of 80s pop. A fusion of a funky synth bass groove and 50s style song and horns make up ”Gone”, and ”Lament” (another top tune from the previews) samples a recording of the traditional french song ”Je voudrais être mariée” (I want to be married¹) with the nice strings and the nice electronic beats.

The fairly pointless 30 seconds of ”Preppy (Mark II)” comes before the dance tune ”Big Bam Boom”, a pretty straightforward house thing which doesn’t do much for me. The album’s longest track ”Jazz Steps” is unfortunately my least favourite from the previews (where it was even longer). A pretty anonymous house track is marred by annoying jazz loops, and goes on for far too long.

”Post Cards” is a summery housy track for car drives (it doesn’t require your attention), followed by ”All My Being” which is a small silly thing of 64 seconds which is really too short and should have taken up some of ”Jazz Steps”’ space…

Steering into another territory is ”Think of a Word”, resembling a rock band trying to sound like early Chemical Brothers. That’s good, by the way. ”Rut” lets the same band mellow out a bit, while also giving you some great self-confidence tips.

The reliable Katty Heath provides vocals for ”The Only Life” (also shortened), another great tune from the previews which goes back to the style of the first couple of tracks on the album. A male vocalist that I don’t know appears on ”Two-Timin’ My Mind”, whose singing improves on a track that might not have worked that well without it. Also the ending of it scared my cat.

Silliness ensues with ”Manhattan/Bruce”, sounding like the end theme of a tv show for very small children. Ending the whole thing is something very weird which I suggest you experience for yourself.

Most albums have that dip in the middle. I don’t know why that happens, but it doesn’t have to. Possibly, working towards an arbitrary running time achieves this. An album doesn’t have to be 60 minutes. It can be as long as it is. It doesn’t have to be a large release event. It can be several small sweet doses. It can be a four hour odyssey.

Some of the tunes here sit comfortably among the classics of Mills’ earlier output in Bent, but I won’t be returning to others. Through the power of playlists I will create my own Napoleon album which is great. Don’t take that the wrong way, Millsy. I don’t want that to happen, because I value your friendship.


¹) Yeah, you know I had to do it: The lyrics are ”Je voudrais être vieille, j’irais p’t’être plus aux champs! Voilà belle vieille, elle va toujours aux champs.” which obviously translates as ”I want to be old, maybe I should go more to the fields! Here is the beautiful old woman, she goes to the fields everyday.”

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