Alexanders Dark Band Dobutsu Bancho

My kingdom for a chorus! There are so many cool sounds and good ideas here, it’s really a shame there’s not more in the way of actual songs. A blend of very funky break beats and every weird noise under the sun, it sometimes sounds a bit like a tripped-out David Holmes or the Avalanches without the catchiness. Some tracks ("The Immortal Squirrel,” for example) have some great sounds but go on for what seems like years. "Space Donkeys on Crack” has more sections with good bits than most whole albums, but none of them go anywhere. One can’t help but think this could have been album of the year if they’d brought in a producer to focus all that energy into something more listener-friendly. As is, it’s an interesting, if bewildering, listen. Whoever’s idea it was to put a mutilated squirrel in the inside of the booklet, with the caption "Some things are better left unopened” should be soundly beaten though. (DC)