Magnetophone The Man Who Ate the Man

Pulled from the files of "What the hell happened to them?” English duo Matt Saunders and John Hanson return after a five year absence to follow up on their debut, I Guess I Need to Be Reminded of How Much You Love Me. While this highly accomplished album warms up in the appropriate places, there are also some throwaway songs that just shouldn’t be there after such an absence. The dulcet tones that open the album show Boards of Canada might be the way they’re turning, but as soon as "Kel’s Vintage Thought” starts its chugging, slightly rock-based bass and drums — courtesy of friends Kim and Kelley Deal — Magnetophone have definitely amped-up the beat. The best combination of exterior talent lies in the heavenly "...And May Your Last Words Be a Chance to Make Things Better,” where the vocals of HMS Ginafore and keys of King Creosote stun. Start with a plaintive voice over a simple undulating beat and aimless guitar, add the layers and out comes a downbeat masterpiece. While people may talk about sophomore nerves, this album definitely has its beeping heart on its sleeve and a confidence that only five years off could muster. (4AD)