This is the second release from Limerick based trip-hop/funk band The Near Future. ‘Atoms For Henrietta (Spinning Carousels in Her Mind)’ leaves the vocals that went with their debut ‘A Little Understanding’ to one side and explores less manicured terrain.
This record is far more expansive and searching than its predecessor, with sprinklings of jazz guitar being married with spoken word monologues, funky bass-lines and sound-bites. There’s also a metal track placed in the centre – making this one of the most bizarre records you’re likely to hear from an Irish band this year.
Flashback From Someone’s Childhood with its saxophone, bobbing piano, flashes of synth, animal noises, traffic noises, and sirens sets the stall out. The everyday rattle of a big city is neatly packaged up and set to a suitable rhythm.
Lost In Time On Platform Nine recalls the more sedate releases, from the late ’80s/ early ’90s, on the Acid Jazz label that pioneered the move from house music back to a more considered and muso type of Jazz/Funk. The relentless piano rhythm and hurried guitar notes add to the urgency and hint at a love for free-form methods.
Sounds From Inside The Sun sounds like an impromptu jam between a baked-up George Clinton and Bootsy Collins in the process of making a soundtrack to an animated horror film -the samples of murderous screaming and police radio reports only supplement the peculiar ambience within.
The Adventures of Dollypartasaurus is a flagrant metal instrumental that sounds like it’s off a completely different record. It appears slightly out of place at first but when taken in context of the conjectural nature of the record, it almost makes sense. Almost.
If Curtis Mayfield jamming with Australian Aborigines is something you’ve always thought would be cool, then you’ll find out what it could have sounded like on The Marsupial’s Strut.
Nomads Moving North, Tracking Footprints Through The Land Of Snows will remind you of UNKLE at their most introspective.
It’s unclear who is behind the Near Future – the main songwriter only goes by the pseudonym of Fintan Strasbourg and is purported to be a penguin sanctuary worker from Limerick. Whoever Strasbourg really is, his distorted and disturbed view of how to make music is to be welcomed in the haze of monotonous indie dross that passes for an alternative scene in Ireland. ‘Atoms for Henrietta’ will open your mind and pollute it accordingly. You’ll probably never fully recover and you may develop an unhealthy lust for Frank Zappa and P-funk. It’s a chance worth taking.