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Praxis Makes Perfect [Bonus CD edition]
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Praxis Makes Perfect
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Neon Neon (Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip) present their new album, Praxis Makes Perfect - the follow up to 2008's Mercury Music Prize nominated Stainless Style.
Praxis Makes Perfect is a musical biopic of Italian publisher, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli's colourful life viewed through the lens of Gruff Rhy's highly original song writing and Boom Bip's shimmering synth-heavy production.
Guests on this album include two previous Neon Neon co-conspirators in Josh Klinghoffer of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cardiff's Cate Le Bon, plus Italian pop sensation Sabrina Salerno and actress Asia Argento.
Includes bonus CD with 4 additional songs.
Top customer reviews
There is always in any work by experimentalist Gruff Rhys some missteps and the bubblegum pop of `Shopping (I Like To)' featuring Italian pop superstar Sabrina Salerno is a bit too close to the Pet Shop Boys for comfort. Better is the harder "Mid Century Modern Nightmare", although you feel that Kim Wilde could have done a great version of this in her heyday. It features Asia Argento reading out extracts from a call-to-arms that Feltrinelli broadcast in Genoa in 1970, using a pirate transmitter wired up to his Fiat car to generate support for the violent left wing grouping Gruppi d'Azione Partigiana (GAP). One of the highlights of the set is the brilliant "The Leopard" almost an electronic love song with haunting backing vocals and a deep synth shuffle. The standout is the saddest song on the album "Caio Feltrinelli" which deals with the Italians suspicious death. Feltrinelli increasingly believed a right-wing coup was imminent in this deeply troubled era of Italian history characterised by the Red Brigades and state violence and his attempt to bring Cuban revolutionary tactics to Italy cost him his life as he was allegedly blown up by his own explosives. The song touches on all this but its strength is probably that it could have happily appeared on any Super Furry Animal album and not be out of place. In the last analysis quite how Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip have brought such colour and verve to what should be a rather po-faced subject matter is both surprising and defies musical gravity. "Praxis makes perfect" proves that revolutionary politics is actually tremendous fun and for those who love the super inventive imagination of Gruff Rhys will find much here to emphatically re-proclaim that he is the best musical asset this side of the Welsh Rugby Team.
Five years after their underrated debut Stainless Style, the collaboration between Gruff Rhys and producer Boom Bip known as Neon Neon are back with their sophomore album, Praxis Makes Perfect. Praxis is a musical biography of Italian publisher and leftist activist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli who died under mysterious circumstances in 1972. Feltrinelli is a far more obscure historical character than Stainless Style’s subject, John DeLorean, and Praxis is a far more obscure album. In fact, as a long-time fan of Gruff Rhys it pains me to say this, but this sounds like the work of artists operating on creative autopilot. On Stainless Style Rhys seemed well in control of the big hooks and ’80s-style songwriting, while Boom Bip crafted top-notch beats, but here their efforts sound tired and halfhearted. Perhaps there are few decent numbers in the album’s first half like “The Jaguar” and “Hammer and Sickle”, but tracks six through ten are unforgivably inconsequential at best (“The Leopard”) and cloying rehashes of everything putrid about ’80s pop music at worst. In fact, “Shopping (I Like To)” is probably the worst song Gruff Rhys has ever been part of. So there’s that. The worst part of Praxis Makes Perfect is that it runs at only thirty-one minutes, yet wears out its welcome long before it ends. Damn.
As with the second release from Neon Neon. Carrying on with their 80's production sound, but with less guitar (so if you're a fan of Gruff Rhys SFA or his other solo projects, this record Is probably not for you), but a little more sophisticated.
It is real delight to hear songs about Dr. Zhivgo & playing on the beach with Fidel (although it's probably a metaphor development of communism), a subject matter rarely touched on in Indie music.
Now not wishing to sound lazy or pig ignorant, but I cant real be bothered to research this Praz fellow, or read "Senior Service" by Carlo Feltrinelli (the book that this album is based on), but just simply enjoy a fascinating & pretty unique sounding record.
The Deluxe version of the CD contain 4 great extra songs, that are more laid back & atmospheric, it just a shame they couldn't have found space on the original album (Praxis only lasts for 30 minutes).
So I think a stronger record that "Stainless Style" with Gruff & Boom Bip becoming used to each others working practice. So an album that is not going to tilt the music world on it's axis, but further mythologize one of the UK's most gifted songwriters.