Never Trust The Chinese
Absolute Motion, 2008
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/13/2009
Arizona-based Mr. Meeble’s interestingly titled debut Never Trust The Chinese is a brilliant gallimaufry of all that has ever happened in electronic music after it parted ways from traditional dance. From Massive Attack to Lamb to Air, the influences on this record are varied. Even with ideas that have been explored before by countless trip-hop and downbeat acts, Mr. Meeble manages to create their own unique little world that’s original.
Mr. Meeble’s laidback, psychedelic songs are far from pleasantly simplistic. They are often spun into complicated, unpredictable layers. NTTC is found at times driven by hard-hitting trippy beats and heavy synths (“Cultivation Of The Imagination,” “It All Came To Pass”). But then there are cuts that rely on just plain drums and a smattering of synthesizers: “Fine,” “100 Pills.” There is “A Ton Of Bricks” that goes almost industrial in spirit, cleverly self-destructing with its distorting rhythm and pained singing. But then “Dragonfly” rises like a sun in a summer day -- a jolly good pop song with a sweet chorus, seductive melodiousness and a warm heart.
The range of this record is pushed even further when it switches from the sensate to the downright subliminal and still sounds as impressive. The six-minute long “Until I Grasp The Second” has all its wonderful layers hidden behind a cloak of a ticking clock, and it takes some painful persistence and a lot of attention to soak in its richness, which is indeed rewarding. The meditative seven-minute long closer “Forget This Ever Happened,” with just a faint muted piano sound and suppressed ambient sounds for music, rewards only when accompanied with a little soul-searching. But its veiled beauty for those who have the humility to find it also makes the cut the most satisfying of the lot.
NTTC is as complex a record as the evolution of dance music itself. The album doesn’t shy away from showing off its pizzazz with its catchy pop items, but at the same time isn’t afraid to challenge the sophistication of listener’s palate and challenge its own eccentricity by conjuring up something indiscernibly wonderful, palpable only to those who desire to find it. This is an extraordinary debut.