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Album of the Month : October 2004


EPO-555 (DK) : " Dexter Fox" ( Crunchy Frog)





1. Dexter Fox



2. Le beat's on fire



3. Cha cha when they're young



4. Dakota



5. Pioneers



6. Sugar for the war machine



7. Pre-emptive stroke


8. L'art pour le fart



9. Il presidente



10. Angelina ballerina




11. What's wrong with disco tango



12. Sophia



13. So long cowboy






I'll never get rich by selling Crunchy Frog promo-cd's to my local 2nd hand record-shop. The reason for this is quite simple: I keep them all ! Ten years after having being founded by Danish indie-rockers Thau in order to release their first album, this DIY micro-company has grown into one of Denmark's best and most influent labels, boasting a discography that now includes artists of international calibre like The Raveonettes and Junior Senior as well as lesser known yet nonetheless interesting acts like The Mopeds, Superheroes or Learning From Las Vegas. The good news after all these years is that these avid music fans still have great fun doing their job and a real flair for finding exciting new bands. This debut CD by Copenhagen-based quartet EPO-555 gives further proof of it.


Although their occasional mangled guitar whirls will draw inevitable comparisons with My Bloody Valentine, it would be unfair to confine EPO-555 to the current Shoegazer-revival trend. Their music is far too rich, varied and personal for that, mixing noisy-pop, twanging guitars, old-school electronics and the mellow voices of Camilla Florentz and Mikkel Max Hansen to an arresting effect. All through these plenty 55 minutes, the Copenhagen four demonstrate their stunning ability to deliver compelling tunes and dress them in an alluring and inventive soundscape. More than often, this pure melodic appeal and original song constructions bring to mind their fellow citizens Mew, of whom EPO-555 are in many ways - and with a sound of their own - the gifted heirs. Many bands would kill to grace their albums with songs as good as the ultra-catchy Pre-Emptive Stroke ( the first single), Le Beat's On Fire ( great mesmerizing synthesizer theme, controversial lyrics) or Dakota ( a perfect 3-minute pop summary). These shiny jewels are only the conspicuous side of a collection that also gives space to quieter, more intimate pieces. Angelina Ballerina, for instance, is just as gracious and ethereal as its title suggests, going at slow pace on an elastic guitar line and accordion-like organ. Pioneer mixes a seductive synthetic whistling with Mikkel's whispering vocals and Notwist-style electro rhythms. The closing track So Long Cowboy also distills a similar subdued appeal, gently fading in the twilight on a cool melodica tune. But it's on lengthier and more complex tracks that EPO-555 give the full measure of their talent. Sugar For The War Machine is a stunning crescendo affair that starts very quietly, then gets fueled with successive layers of sound until everything goes out of control. Il Presidente offers three different songs in one, alternating sudden bursts of noise with a delicate ballad sung mezzo-voce by Camilla, all ending in an unexpected coda. Even better, Sophia combines the great melodic hook of the singles with the ambitious development of the lengthy tracks. Everything here is close to perfection: the propulsive melody, the gorgeous chorus where Camilla and Mikkel's voices blend together perfectly, the charming early-Cure guitar segue that astutely separates the verse from the chorus, not to forget the glorious A Day In The Life racket that closes the song.


On stage, EPO-555 decorate their mike-stands with Christmas strings of lights. No need to wait for December though: with " Dexter Fox", it's already Christmas right now.




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