Momus Oskar Tennis Champion

The arrival of a new Momus album is a bit of a wild-card — you never quite know what the patch-eyed, art-pop wonderboy will come up with. Given his collaborations with Kahimi Karie and Cornelius, it’s not surprising that he has recently relocated to Tokyo, which acted as base camp for his next phase of musical exploration. From his new home, the Scottish-born artist formerly known as Nick Currie has clearly embraced the local culture, allowing experimental forms of Japanese pop and even kabuki theatre to influence his avant-garde style. The end result is a near-absurd mix of laptop pop, poetry reciting, cabaret and slapstick. Unfortunately, discussing the content of this (or any other) Momus album is an exercise in futility. The musical and lyrical subject matter is so unpredictable and bizarre that it begs the question: is he serious? Apparently, yes. This is the work of either a mad genius, or a trickster who has the art-pop world in the palm of his hand — perhaps both. The main difference on Oskar Tennis Champion is that he has allowed an outside producer to work on the music, San Francisco’s John Talaga, who also records as Fashion Flesh and Super Madrigal Brothers. Perhaps through this influence, the sound on this album is more disjointed, and there aren’t as many stand-alone tracks as on previous releases. However, there is something strangely appealing about this album, although it is definitely an acquired taste. You have been warned. (Darla)