Mount Florida Arrived Phoenix

Glasgow duo M.P.Lancaster and Twitch are the experimenters behind Mount Florida. This coupling brings together M.P.Lancaster's long career in recording music for theatre and sound installations with Twitch's equally long stint as a DJ and as the man who brought techno to Scotland in the late '80s. The results are intriguing. The initial compositions can slip by the listener because of their ambient lucidity and unearthly calm - a mood that Mount Florida set up with their first three songs. They have a definite theatricality to them, as if they are soundtracks to performance art pieces. But witness the switch in "Celebration"; a track that recalls label-mates Yo La Tengo, with the slow, soft urgency of that band's night time driving tunes. It is equally a tribute to math rock, à la Don Caballero. Just when this transition takes you by surprise, they throw in a raunchy garage rock number called "Postal" that has a two-note thumping, Kim Deal-inspired bass riff. There is a feel to these two tracks that has the quirkiness of a current Manchester offering, Clinic, whose debut release has the same smart-ass flavour. The range of influence is no surprise, given that the duo collaborated with nearly 12 musicians, including members of Ganger, Aereogramme and Suckle. But they return to the initial tone of the album, set up by the opening tracks, which is a pity because the surprises cease halfway through. Whilst the dub-inspired, tripped-out soundscapes continue to weave into each other seamlessly, they lack soul. The spoken-word piece - Noam Chomsky backed by an ethereal string composition - is a road pretty well travelled. A longer album may have allowed Mount Florida to traverse the breadth they promise with greater success. (Matador)