The Chap Ham

English art weirdoes the Chap have that rare gift where it doesn’t matter what angle they aim for in their music they always seem to hit the nail right on the head. Ham is their follow-up to 2003’s The Horse, an album that was universally praised for its distinct style and obscure vision. Ham follows suit, as the quartet run through a series of genre-melding numbers that rule out any simple categorisation. There is a whole undercarriage of whimsicality that flows within the Chap’s mentality. "Baby I’m Hurt’n” plays like Numbers kidnapped a violinist, and then "The Premier At Last” takes naked vocals and floats them among a soft clean guitar and a static bounce. "Long Distance Loving” blends whistling with Britney’s skittering beat for "Toxic” to create something that can only be constituted as an anti-dance floor movement. There are a million ideas working at once here that the Chap are more than excited to use; their passion for such leftfield horseplay is both oddly sophisticated and childishly clever. (Lo)