Death By Chocolate Death By Chocolate

Unknown but for a cult of Japanese anglophiles and pop trainspotters, Mike Alway has been one of Britain's most doggedly single-minded musical visionaries for almost 20 years. Alway has used his tenures at four record labels (Cherry Red, Blanco Y Negro, Él and, now, If...) to curate his own aesthetic wonderland - an alternate pop history in which Burt Bacharach's and Phil Spector's reigns were never displaced by the arrival of rock. Death By Chocolate may be his most masterful contrivance yet. Led by Angela Faye Tillett, a teenage "chambermaid from Clacton-on-Sea," DBC is a childlike tour of an imaginary universe in which our greatest daily concerns are crumbling chocolate bars making a mess of your slacks ("The Land of Chocolate") and the possibly devious intentions of a psychedelic insect ("The L.S. Bumble Bee"). Tillett forgoes singing to recite in a detached, sexless tone that will strike listeners as either endearing or annoying, atop music seemingly plucked out of '60s children's TV shows and Mod discos. A surreal reminiscence of a swinging England that likely never was, Death By Chocolate is art disguised as trash, depth disguised as pettiness and an insanely entertaining work of, quite possibly, insane genius. (Jetset)