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Neon Neon: Stainless Style

An online exclusive review

(Lex Records)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Neon Neon: Stainless Style
(Lex Records)

A government cocaine sting, stainless steel future vehicles with gull-wing doors and bright disco balls all figure in this brilliant long-player — an unlikely but strong contender for album of the year around this part of Chicago’s South Loop. Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys teams up with ace American producer Boom Bip (Bryan Hollon) for — get this — a concept album concerned with the life of upstart automobile executive John DeLorean, the man who left GM to make his own sporty vehicles. What’s more, they take the biography seriously, incorporating the details about the carmaker’s rags-to-riches-to-arrest life story within Eighties-inspired dance pop and ’08 worthy clubby tunes. Rhys makes an nimble pop storyteller (with help from Kate Le Bon) on Gary Numanesque and New Order-y tracks like “Dream Cars,” “Raquel” (about one of DeLorean’s obsession, the starlet Raquel Welch) and “Michael Douglas.” But rhyming cameos from Spank Rock (“Trick or Treat”), Fat Lip and a smutty turn from female rappers Yo Majesty (“Sweat Shop”) bring some extra fuel to the hip-hop-leaning nuggets — though they leave the record strangely schizophrenic on the whole. Revisiting the me-decade might be the in-thing to do, but few can make glitter like this.

John Dugan

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